Given the message of today’s press conference by Putin, and Russian troop movements on Ukraine’s borders, I would now estimate the likelihood of an invasion of regular Russian troops into Ukraine, i.e. full-scale war, at 50%. Among others, Putin spoke about Eastern and Southern Ukraine as “Novorossiia” (New Russia) and that he does not want to be forced to intervene in Ukraine – implying that he could be. The intersection of Putin’s new rhetorical turn and suspicious Russian military operations on Ukraine’s borders may be designed to exert pressure on the Geneva negotiations. Yet, they could also signal that his calculations have left the realms of empirical observation and proper rationality. He might be feeling to be in a historical moment from which he cannot escape. If there is a rational calculation behind it, it may be that he wants to make millions of Russians collaborators in his crime thereby preventing or, at least, postponing the moment he will be called to account for what he already did and will be doing.
Likelihood of Russian-Ukrainian war, at 50%
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