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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Ethnic Russian groups pose new threat to Putin in Ukraine War

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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A raid across the Ukraine-Russia border by a group consisting of anti-Putin Russians and Ukrainian citizens is raising new questions about Moscow’s defense strategy. The border raid in the city of Belgorod in southwestern Russia comes just a few weeks after drones attacked the Kremlin.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan says the involvement of ethnic Russian groups poses a new threat to Vladimir Putin and his plans to win the Ukraine War.

Excerpted from Peter’s May 26 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

A group of ethnic Russians opposed to Putin’s government joined forces with Ukraine and launched an assault across the border into the city of Belgorod. There are three main takeaways from this cross-border attack.

Russia didn’t bother garrisoning its logistical centers along the Ukrainian border. While this assault was quickly put to rest, this will be crucial as Ukraine launches more attacks in the coming weeks and months.

We’re going to hear a lot more about Belgorod in the future. It’s one of the critical points the Russians use to launch assaults into Ukraine. For Ukraine to “win“ this war, Belgorod will need to be neutralized, one way or the other.

The final component is that these are ethnic Russians…fighting against Russia…in Russia. So this little hiccup might throw a wrench into some of those “for the Russian people” propaganda pieces that Putin is pushing.

As I’ve said before, the Russians will continue pushing this war until they can’t, and if Ukraine wants to win, they’ll eventually have to cross the border. These partisans may have just answered how that might be carried out.

Hey everybody, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Scottsdale. Today we’re going to talk about something that went down on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Specifically a group of people who consider themselves partisans, identifying that they’re ethnic Russians opposed to the government of Vladimir Putin, were joining forces with the Ukrainians and they launched an assault across the border into the city of Belgrade in southwestern Russia.
Damage was relatively limited. We’re really talking about a couple of buildings like the FSB office hit; they got burned down. But the Russians redistributed some forces and over the course of the next two or three days managed to push them all back into Ukraine. According to Russian propaganda, they were all killed. Who knows? We don’t even know how many men were involved in the first place.
Now, this is important for two reasons. Well, three reasons. Number one, it shows that the Russians didn’t even bother to garrison any of their logistical centers that are hard on Ukraine’s border. That is something that is definitely going to be relevant moving forward as the Ukrainians get ready to push the Russians out of more land. Second, in the war of propaganda, the Ukrainians of course are saying these people are unaffiliated, the Russians are saying that they’re all Ukrainian. The truth is somewhere in between.
Obviously, they’re getting supplies and equipment from the Ukrainian forces that are probably specifically managed by the Ukrainian forces. But the third most important thing is, these are ethnic Russians from Ukraine. And even in the Russian response, they admitted that these are ethnic Russians that are fighting Russia, in Russia. So whether or not that was a propaganda hiccup, or an admission that the single most viable bit of propaganda that the Russians had been pushing, that they are completely in there to save ethnic Russians, that’s going to be a big problem moving forward.
One more thing I forgot. Belgrade is a really important city for any number of reasons, but the most important one is it serves as Russia’s primary logistical point in launching off for assaults against the city of Kharkov, which if you remember, was one of the first places that the Russians attacked earlier in the war, and were there until they were kicked out in the last year’s summer offensive.
The Russians are going to push this war until they can’t. And that means that at some point, if Ukraine is going to emerge victorious, they’re gonna have to cross into Russia proper and neutralize Belgrade. The partisans indicate one of the ways that that might happen. So we may be seeing the beginning of a multi-vectored strategic policy here and the Russians have proven that they haven’t bothered to even put basic defenses in the city. I’m sure they’re gonna work on correcting that now, but there’s a lot on the Russians’ plates. Okay, now I’m done for real. Bye.

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