Georgia at risk amid Putin's push to restore USSR – EURACTIV

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By Roman Rukomeda
06-09-2022 (updated: 06-09-2022 )
People attend a ‘March for Europe’ in support of the country’s membership in the European Union, in Tbilisi, Georgia, 20 June 2022. [EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE]

In Putin’s push to restore the USSR, the most significant risk is for Georgia, followed by Armenia, Moldova and Kazakhstan, as well as other Central Asian former Soviet republics, writes Roman Rukomeda.
Roman Rukomeda is a Ukrainian political analyst. This is his 64th account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 194th day of Russian aggression and war against Ukraine has ended. Russian military aggression against Ukraine is connected to Putin’s attempt to restore the new Soviet Union in line with the symbolism of dates.
In December 2022, it will be 100 years since the creation of the Soviet Union. Putin is trying to reinvent the new Soviet/Russian empire by annexing and capturing parts of the former Soviet empire of which Ukraine was at the centre. Besides, on 7 October 2022, Putin will celebrate his 70th birthday.
This year for him is special, and he intends to wrap up his anniversary with some significant events. Aside from the mentioned dates, Putin is obsessed with restoring direct Russian influence on former Soviet republics. Putin’s obsession is directed strictly at the past without any vision for the future.
As I mentioned many times before, Russia will not stop its aggression and bloodlust. But Putin’s Russia can be controlled by military defeat. The biggest worries now are now Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Kazakhstan, and other Central Asian former Soviet republics. Besides the aggression against Ukraine, the highest risk is now probably for Georgia, which lacks the military might to defend against any invasion.
Moreover, two significant pipelines (oil and gas) that deliver Azeri hydrocarbons to Turkey (and further to Europe) are partially located on Georgian territory. Cutting these pipelines is extremely important for Russia, which wants to reach a complete oil and gas blockade of Europe. Georgia can become the gate for other possible Russian occupation of Armenia. Moldova is also threatened by the Russian military base in Transnistria, which has some 5000
A week has passed since the beginning of the so-called “Ukrainian offensive”, as the media defined it. According to the Ukrainian Armed forces, the offensive in Ukraine’s South started at the beginning of the summer. But it looked more like strikes of long-ranged MLRS on Russian logistic hubs (with warehouses, military bases, command centres, railway hubs etc.).
The beginning of massive Ukrainian strikes on bridges across the Dnipro river (to cut a Russian military group in Kherson of about 15,000-20,000 troops) and on Crimea is also a part of the offensive. But in reality, as most war experts prove, it is more preparation for a real offensive than an offensive itself.
The Ukrainian army is seriously weakening Russian offensive and defensive capabilities in the South, East and even North-East (Kharkiv region) to create the conditions when Russian aggressors will either retreat by themselves or be surrounded and captured due to the lack of ammunition and other supplies.
So far, Russian aggressors do not demonstrate any intentions to retreat. They even try to attack the Donetsk region to continue the so-called “full liberation of Donbas”. In the next one-two months, the Russian army will have to switch to defence. Moreover, constant attacks on Russian logistics will force them to leave part of captured Ukrainian territories in the East and South.
Unfortunately, the situation on captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains complicated. Russian terrorists continue to shell the station and nearby infrastructure. Many electric wires from the station are damaged, and the nuclear reactors cannot connect the produced energy to the electric network of Ukraine.
Russians also continue to pressure and, in some cases, torture Ukrainian personnel operating the station. The mission of the IAEA has already left the station except for two delegation members — will this deter Russian terrorists from violent actions on the station? UN, EU and NATO should deploy more efforts to secure the situation of the nuclear power station to eliminate the risk of a new nuclear catastrophe.
On captured Ukrainian territories, there is a growing resistance movement. There are almost no volunteers to receive Russian passports in occupied Ukraine’s South or East. Those few who dare to obtain a Russian passport immediately receive the demand to join the Russian army and are mobilised in the troops fighting against Ukraine.
Russian aggressors continue to perform on captured Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions all sorts of atrocities such as those committed in Bucha. The majority of these crimes are done intentionally to intimidate the local Ukrainian population that, in its majority, remains loyal to the Ukrainian state. Notably, the liberation of Ukrainian land in its South and East by the Armed forces brings people hope and optimism. Each day is getting Ukraine closer to the final victory.


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