Vladimir Putin was reportedly so angry when President Joe Biden called him a “killer” in his first post-job interview, the Russian president quit quarantined, vaccinated against COVID and moved 28,000 Russian troops to the border with Ukraine. .
“It was really a shock. And it changed his behavior a lot,” said Pavel Baev, a senior researcher at the Norwegian International Peace Research Institute in Oslo.
Russian Bear bombers take action, forcing NATO to shoot down 10 planes to intercept Russian warplanes flying over the North Atlantic last week, a rare show of force near the Arctic On Monday, Putin quietly changed Russia’s constitution to allow it to remain in power until 2036. He would be 83 years old.
“The bluff comes naturally [Putin]. He is much more of a manipulator than a warrior, “Baev said in an interview with Fox News.”
Putin warns Biden with the figurative “Your move, Joe!”
Faced with growing popularity at home, Putin has returned to a “hybrid war” with the United States. “President Putin would be happy to see Russian-American relations reduced to a mano-mano battle between him and President Biden,” according to Timothy Fry, author of the new book, Weak Strong Man: The Limits of Putin’s Power in Russia.
By testing the response time of America and NATO with hypersonic weapons tests in the Arctic, military accumulation on the border with Ukraine and ongoing repression against supporters of his main political opponent, Alexei Navalny, now in prison and on hunger strike, Vlad the Terrible signaled. that he had returned and urged the White House to respond.
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“The Russian government is responsible for his health and well-being. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
Fry urges the Biden administration not to play Putin’s game: “Putin is increasingly relying on repression against his political opponents, and I see this as a sign of weakness rather than strength,” Fry told Fox News. “There is already a lot of Putin fatigue in the country. He has ruled the country for 20 years, and although he remains widely popular, I think there is a desire in Russia, many elements of Russian society for political change.”
So Putin’s new military position is just a bluff? Some experts say the Pentagon is lured to spend more on next-generation expensive weapons.
“There is an arms race. There is competition with the new weapons system, including hypersonic, including nuclear, but again the Russian economy is not Soviet. The arms race is very difficult to maintain, especially when you are competing with the United States, “Baev argued.” I don’t think Putin has a long-term horizon. He is much more concerned with today and tomorrow, and perhaps a little for the day after, than for a sustained arms race. “
New satellite images of the expansion of Russian military bases and weapons tests raise fears of a new Cold War escalation and a possible arms race in the Arctic. Allies say nuclear tests could devastate the fragile ecosystem. A series of recent weapons tests from Moscow and the alarming development of a stealth nuclear megaton torpedo that could devastate cities on the east coast of the United States with a radioactive tsunami quickly caught the attention of the U.S. military.
When three Russian submarines exploded through the Arctic ice in late March in synchronized exercise, the Pentagon noticed and Putin praised the naval achievements. Each Russian submarine can carry 16 ballistic missiles.
“We are watching very closely. No one wants to see the Arctic as a militarized region,” Defense Secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon.
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As rising temperatures and climate change cause the polar ice to melt, the world’s great powers are vying to control the Arctic and its new valuable sea routes.
“Russia is renovating Soviet-era airports and radar installations, building new ports and search and rescue centers, and building its fleet of icebreakers with nuclear and conventional engines. It is also expanding its network of missile and coastal defense systems, thus strengthening its capabilities. for access / denial of areas over key parts of the Arctic, “said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, who noted that Russia had recently set up two permanent rotational response teams at two Arctic airports.
Commercial satellite imagery shows Russia expanding its military bases in the Arctic, adding 50 publications it closed at the end of the first Cold War.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Putin sees the Arctic as a priority. “The economic potential is growing from year to year, you know, there are common national development plans in the Arctic,” which Russia needs for its oil and gas supplies and newly thawed vessels, which will shorten routes from Europe to Asia.
Experts worry that the Russian bear is seeking a “new cold war” with the West by testing modern weapons such as a hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile fired by the Northern Fleet in the Barents Sea and developing Poseidon, a 6,000-mile nuclear-powered unmanned missile on the seabed.
“It is designed to be undetected once it explodes, it could devastate coastal areas in the United States,” said Heather A. Conley, senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic; and Director, Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS.
Such hypersonic weapons seemed like a joke when Vladimir Putin first presented a prototype to Russian lawmakers three years ago, suggesting they could hit Mar-A-Lago. Now military experts take them seriously and spend huge budgets to develop their own.
“Think of it as an underwater drone crossing the North Atlantic. And if it explodes with a radioactive explosion, it would create a tsunami, if you will, on the East Coast, emitting huge amounts of water and could cause endless devastation to the United States. states, “Conley said in an interview with Fox.
Vice Admiral Robert Murrett is deputy director of the Institute for National Security and Combating Terrorism at Syracuse University and was director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency for four years, controlling the Pentagon’s top-secret spy satellites until 2010. He said that Russia is developing a series of weapons that are of great concern to the U.S. military.
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“The Arctic is a great shortcut, whether you’re on a plane, under the ocean, and also for an intercontinental ballistic missile, it goes back to the Cold War,” said Murrett, who has spent his career watching Russian military movements.
The US Air Force recently deployed four B-1 bombers for the first time at an Arctic base in Norway, another sign that Putin is getting the answer he wants: attention and deviation from his domestic opponents.