Russia’s Response To Ukraine’s US-Backed Bombing Of Beachgoers Wasn’t What Many Expected


President Putin isn’t a “madman”, “monster”, or “mastermind” like many imagine that he is, but is a consummate pragmatist at least as how he sees himself and is therefore unlikely to ever do anything that could be spun as emotional or radical.

President Putin proved once again that he’s mature enough of a leader to make tough decisions that disregard public opinion following his government’s tepid response to Ukraine’s US-backed bombing of beachgoers in Sevastopol over the weekend. It was predicted that “Russia Probably Won’t Impose A No-Fly Zone Over The Black Sea After The Sevastopol Attack”, which explained why it was unlikely to capitulate to the public’s demand due to worries about accidentally sparking World War III.

Instead of shooting down or otherwise neutralizing American reconnaissance drones over international waters in the Black Sea, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reaffirmed that President Putin’s ceasefire proposal still stands. Shortly afterwards, Peskov also expressed Russia’s continued openness to talks with France after Emmanuel Macron publicly said that he’s interested in them the other day while also walking back his earlier rhetoric about wanting to conventionally intervene in Ukraine.

These two developments were then followed by new Defense Minister Andrey Belousov talking to his American counterpart in a call where “they exchanged views about the situation around Ukraine”. He also warned him about “the dangers of further escalation in terms of the continuing deliveries of American weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.” Taken together, it’s clearly the case that Russia’s response was once again conciliatory and not escalatory, exactly as the earlier cited analysis predicted.

Interestingly, these developments were interspersed with the viral fake news claim that Russia had already supposedly downed an American drone over the Black Sea in revenge, which was introduced into the information ecosystem here but was then quickly walked back by its originator here. Nevertheless, this claim wildly proliferated across social media because it conformed to many wishful thinking observers’ expectations, most of whom never came across the follow-up post walking it back.

The reason why it’s so important to clarify exactly what Russia’s response to last weekend’s provocation was, namely to continue its conciliatory approach for de-escalation purposes as opposed to risking World War III by miscalculation if it reacted as the public demanded, is to prevent false expectations. Those who get their hopes unrealistically high will inevitably experience deep disappointment, after which some might become susceptible to hostile narratives that Russia “sold out” or whatever.

Whether one agrees with the merits of its saintly restraint or not, the fact of the matter is that this is indeed the policy that President Putin has decided to promulgate for the reasons that were explained. While it’s possible that he might order a symbolic show of force by authorizing the shooting down or neutralization of an American drone in the coming future, his tepid response thus far suggests that he’s disinclined to do so, or that it would solely be a one-off in the unlikely event that it happens.

President Putin isn’t a “madman”, “monster”, or “mastermind” like many imagine that he is, but is a consummate pragmatist at least as how he sees himself and is therefore unlikely to ever do anything that could be spun as emotional or radical. He always takes a long time before making major decisions, with the proof being how long it took for him to commence Russia’s aerial intervention in Syria and the ongoing special operation, usually waiting till the last possible moment.

Likewise, if Russia does indeed decide to seriously escalate against the West, then the track record suggests that it would be a seemingly abrupt game-changer but preceded by clear statements of intent that could be seen in hindsight as “ultimatums” (despite being described differently by its diplomats). Some might interpret a few of its recent signals as hinting at that scenario, but the substance of its response thus far as was explained dispels that notion and suggests that the current policy will continue.

Source: author’s blog

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