NewsPutin plans to create 'demilitarized zone' in Ukraine, draws international scrutiny

Putin plans to create 'demilitarized zone' in Ukraine, draws international scrutiny

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
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12:27 PM EST, February 1, 2024, updated: 4:32 AM EST, March 7, 2024

On Wednesday, January 31, the President of Russia presented his plans for the near and distant future. Putin cited the shift of the frontline to the interior of Ukrainian territory as one of his principal objectives. This would pave the way for creating a "demilitarized zone" or "buffer zone".

The creation of this zone would ensure that the areas occupied by Russians and the Russian Federation itself are beyond the reach of artillery and long-range systems supplied by Western countries to the Ukrainians on the frontline.

Putin suggested that Kharkiv, a city previously referred to as "Russian," could be in the demilitarized zone.

Many interpret Putin's discussion of this issue not as a sign of a possible Russian offensive along the northern borders of the Kharkiv and Belgorod regions but as a diversionary tactic. It's suspected to be a ploy to distract Ukrainians from the ongoing Russian offensive along the contact line in the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions.

What can be deduced from the analysis of Putin's recent statements?

Specialists from the Institute for the Study of War have examined the plans outlined by Vladimir Putin (ISW). Their analysis deems Putin's goal of shifting the frontline so the occupied territories and actual Russian territory are out of Ukrainian firing range as "vague".

Said aim is deemed "almost unattainable as long as Ukraine remains an independent entity capable of military operations."

This isn't Putin's first mention of creating such a zone, the ISW points out. He suggested it in the summer of 2023 when pro-Ukrainian forces appeared in the Belgorod area. Despite this, the Russian Armed Forces didn't take any actions that would suggest Putin earnestly contemplated these suggestions.

The experts propose that Putin employs a standard narrative, framing the Russian war in Ukraine as a battle for Russian sovereignty and ridding Russian society of those opposing this sovereignty.

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