To suggest that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is going poorly would be a rather significant understatement. The brutal truth of the situation is far more damaging to the Kremlin than that.
The myth of Russia’s military prowess has been fully shattered, torn asunder by the constant breakdowns of their 70-year old equipment, a gutting of the commanding ranks by the more well-trained Ukrainian forces, and mass desertions in which Russian troops are simply abandoning their equipment and running for the hills.
All the while, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been attempting to play the role of “tough guy”, spouting all manner of nonsensical, nuclear threats, hoping to keep the world at bay.
Now, however, with failure in Ukraine appearing rather imminent, Putin is beginning to back down.
After weeks of apocalyptic atomic innuendo, Russia issued a bland statement Wednesday reaffirming its long-standing policies on the use of nuclear weapons — a possible sign that the Kremlin is trying to cool the escalatory rhetoric it used throughout October.
“Russia is strictly and consistently guided by the tenet that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” said the statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
The statement added that Russian nuclear doctrine was unambiguous and did not allow for “expansive interpretation,” indicating Moscow may be trying to walk back a number of statements calling the doctrine into question.
Putin also began to backtrack toward an agreement with NATO.
The statement also included an appeal for talks about the kinds of “security guarantees” Russia had demanded of NATO before it invaded Ukraine in February.
The softening rhetoric comes amid reports that Russia is running low on munitions to carry out the war, and just days after video of a Russian troop mutiny went viral online.