Mihkelson: There are forces in Russia whose time is coming
Ukraine's military successes, discordance in Russia's partial mobilization and the Saturday attack on the Kerch Bridge all pile on the likelihood that tensions in Moscow will escalate into a major power struggle, Marko Mihkelson, chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee, told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news on Saturday.
Isn't it true regarding the Kerch Bridge attack that the fact it happened and happened big is more important than the why of it?
It is a small but significant step toward Ukraine's victory. It sports a moral, symbolic and military significance for Ukraine. While we learned this evening that the railroad bridge, as the most important artery, has been repaired, this morning's attack, whoever staged it and whatever the exact details, shows that even strategic objects like the Kerch Bridge can be destroyed.
What will be Putin's revenge?
We don't know. He has been quiet throughout Saturday, and it has been suggested he will not make a statement for several days, while he has ordered the FSB to ramp up security on the bridge. It is one of the better protected objects in Russia, but the empire building isn't exactly going to plan, which is a disaster both for Putin's dreams and goal of destroying Ukrainian statehood. Ukraine has now managed to seize the initiative completely, and Putin's attempt to change things by declaring his annexation has not worked.
There are cracks in the empire's leadership, and it has been speculated that the attacks on Nord Stream and the Kerch Bridge are linked to provoke Putin into doing something that would result in his removal from power.
The more success Ukraine finds on the battlefield, the more moral and symbolic victories it racks up, such as the sinking of the missile cruiser Moskva and the attack on the Kerch Bridge, the more tensions flare in the Kremlin. That the mobilization is not going to plan, that there are no reports of success from the front lines – try as it might, Russia is falling back, surrendering territories it recently declared as perpetually Russian.
The more time goes by, the more the question of what might be Russia's and Putin's response is raised. There are many forces the hour of which is drawing near.
The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry wrote on social media that a major operation is underway in Moscow, there are arrests of military officials and the traffic is blocked in the city center. Is it wishful thinking or is something really going on?
Such claims have been made by no more than a few sources. Information coming out of Moscow suggests the heart of the city has not been blockaded. But we cannot rule out tensions between Russian special services, perhaps the Wagner private army and its head Prigozhin and the top brass of the Russian armed forces.
The question is how the war criminal, yesterday's birthday boy (Putin – ed.) will manage to control the situation. I believe that the more adept Ukraine is at beating Russia on the battlefield, the greater the likelihood that tensions in Moscow will escalate into a major in-house struggle.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski