Russian hawks who are restless hope the strikes in Ukraine herald a shift in Putin’s war

Since effective Ukrainian counteroffensives forced the Kremlin’s forces out of substantial portions of occupied land in the country’s east and south, Putin’s military leadership has come under unheard-of criticism from within the Russian establishment. Every new development fueled a sense of terror in Russia, especially when combined with the problematic call-up of hundreds of thousands of troops.

Putin selected a cruel man as the overall commander of his forces in Ukraine over the weekend, a subtle admission that the conflict was not progressing as expected.

Surgei Surovikin, also known as General Armageddon and infamous for his ruthless air campaign in Syria, was appointed on the same day that a bombing seriously destroyed the bridge connecting Russia with the annexation of Crimea, dealing Putin a strategic and symbolic setback.

Although Kyiv claimed the deadly attacks on Monday had been planned months in advance, Putin claimed they were retaliation. In any case, they provided another indication of the rising power of extremist views as the battle moves into a crucial phase with Russian troops on the run. Following a surprise victory there earlier this month, Ukraine claimed on Wednesday to have gained even more ground in the south by liberating five villages in the vital Kherson region.

Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the nonpartisan R.Politik think tank and a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, stated in an analysis post on the Telegram messaging app that Putin has been persuaded to adopt a more confrontational stance.

He is becoming a hostage to this circumstance, and Stanovaya warned that if he hesitates again, people who are now committed to seeing the war through to a successful conclusion may become genuinely irritated.

Putin and Colonel General Sergei Surovikinat the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow

Following their celebration, the pro-war activists urged Putin to maintain the tempo.
After praising Monday’s strikes, former president Dmitry Medvedev, one of the war’s most vocal supporters, said: “There will be others.”

Sergei Aksyonov, the leader of Crimea who was installed by Russia, asserted that Kyiv would have fallen months earlier if Russia had launched such attacks against energy and water supplies at the outset of the conflict. He also voiced the expectation that the operation’s speed wouldn’t slow down.

In order for every Russian to see that we are winning, Anton Krasovsky, a propagandist TV anchor and enthusiastic war booster, called for similar strikes every day.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, who led the criticism of Russia’s military leaders for missteps on the battlefield this month, expressed his complete satisfaction with the way the conflict was progressing and reminded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Russia hasn’t actually started yet.

The devastating assaults may have given some Russians a boost, but it appeared unlikely that they would significantly alter the situation on the battlefield.

According to Tuck of Kings College, the attacks have not diminished Ukrainian military capabilities and are essentially unrelated to the conflict in the country’s northeast and south.

Since Monday, attacks on civilian targets have persisted, though not nearly as frequently.

According to military analysts, Moscow is rapidly running short of rockets, which are necessary to sustain such operations. According to Kyiv, Russia has already started employing additional kamikaze drones that it bought from Iran as a less expensive and more portable substitute.

According to Tuck, Russia appears to be capable of firing short bursts of long-range missiles, but given what we already know about their willingness to accept the suffering of civilian casualties, if they could sustain this type of attack for any length of time, they would have already started a campaign.