Russo-Ukrainian War 3/20/22

Aleksandr Bortnikov meeting with Dmitri Medvedev in 2009, regarding operations in Chechnya.

A Russian airstrike hit a Ukrainian chemical plant, releasing copious amounts of ammonia into the air. Affecting about 5km near Sumy, the leak is being responded to by emergency services, and local citizens advised their breathing precautions. It is unknown whether Russia will own up to the attack or use it as a false-flag incident to escalate further. Yet whether accidental or intentional, it is the first serious chemical disaster of the war.

The Russian military recently sent an ultimatum to Mariupol, demanding its surrender. Predictably, the Ukrainian garrison rejected their demands, giving rise to fears of an imminent escalation.

This comes with new intelligence from anonymous U.S. sources that Russia may back down from Kyiv, having realized the only real way to take the city is through the use of a WMD. Should this be the case, if Russia’s airstrike on the chemical facility is any indicator, it could be Putin’s way of testing the West’s reaction and slowly escalating
to try and turn the tide of the war. Yet these reports conflict with other American and British sources, claiming that Russian troops continue to attempt to take Kyiv despite weeks of failure.

Within Russia itself, there is speculation that members of the Young Army Cadets, with members as young as 16-17, may be sent to Ukraine. This comes along with a potential cease of regional elections for governors in the Russian Federation, a drastic step towards Soviet leadership.

Yet as Putin flirts with a new Imperial Russia, he will have to be wary of dissent much like the Tsars before him. Unconfirmed reports by Ukrainian intelligence speak of a plot by senior elites to overthrow Putin, installing Aleksandr Bortnikov, head of the FSB, as the new President. With FSB officials having already gone on record against the invasion, it may only be a matter of time and pressure before Putin is quietly removed, replaced by a nameless figure as Russia recomposes itself, perhaps not in the way the people may want: but in a way that oligarchs may retain some modicum of power.

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