It seems to be accepted that Putin wants a war in Ukraine, and in absence of any other strong allied militaries around, the only way to get that is attack by Russia itself.

The military conflict in Ukraine is now 8 years old: for 7 of which, it is a frozen conflict where there's a stable border between Ukraine and what's seceded off it. Shellings seem to happen weekly with skirmishes once a few months. During these 7 years, no large-scale war took place.

So the question is, what's different now? Are there any particular reasons why Putin wants to defrost this conflict just now? I think some documents were supposedly leaked in late 2021, did they contain any 'motivation' section? Or maybe there are some logical reasons why it should happen this year any more than the previous one or the year after?

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    The linked answer actually does not relate to my question, I'm not asking "why Putin would threaten" but "why Putin will actually invade right now". Threatening and attacking, a tad different.
    – alamar
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 7:53
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    Making a distinction between "Why does Putin want to invade? (now)" and "Why is Putin saying that he wants to invade? (one month ago)" strikes me as splitting hairs. Presumably the answers to these two questions are not radically different.
    – MJ713
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:52
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    @alamar is 100% correct. The linked answer is not related to the presumed dup target: "What does Russian government have to gain from the current build up and threatening possible invasion of Ukraine?". I know this bc I asked the dup target question! I had zero interest in asking the Q from the OP above, namely "Are there any particular reasons why Putin wants to defrost this conflict just now?". This is a wholly different question, as alamar, who wrote that Q, clearly explained. So pls kindly reopen the Q above ASAP. TYIA! Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 2:47
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    @TimurShtatland asking why Russia would attack now is speculative. The duplicate question seems very similar because it asks about the Russian perspective on something that has actually happened (a Russian troop buildup on its own side of the border). Other than that buildup, I am not sure if we can say that 'Putin wants to attack' (this question is premised around that). FYI, I answered the duplicate question and I think my answer there would apply here too. As such, I think the dupe question is quite close and it makes more sense to me to close it as a dupe than as speculative.
    – JJJ
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 18:32
  • @JJJ I got it and agree now. Thx for the patient explanation. Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 18:34

1 Answer 1

  • It is not known if Russia wants to invade or if it wants to gain diplomatic leverage through a credible threat of invasion. Possibly only Putin himself knows.
  • The term frozen conflict does not denote a mostly bloodless situation like the Iron Curtain during the Cold War or the DMZ in Korea. Thousands have died during the stalemate. Russia is providing the secessionist groups with enough support to hold out, not enough to win. That's the meaning of frozen.
  • There are a few reasons why Russia might want to act now.
    (Edit: These factors do not necessarily suggest 2022 over 2021. They do suggest 2022 over 2002 or 2032.)
    • Russia is afraid of Color Revolutions, which Russia sees as organized by the West while the West proclaims that it is merely supporting civil society. If Ukraine wants to join NATO and the EU (unrealistic right now, but an aspiration of the current government), that reinforces Russian perceptions.
      Putin might fear protests after the nect Russian election, and want to give the opposition a clear example of Russian might.
    • Their economy is dependent on the export of energy. On the long term, the shift to renewable energy will erode this income stream. Russia might want to act before their economic position slips.
    • Russia has been reforming their military. They might have concluded that they have now reached a point to make this more feasible than earlier.
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    Thank you for the detailed answer. Unfortunately, as you can see it does not answer the "why now" part, resorting to guessing.
    – alamar
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 7:06
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    @alamar Since Putin would hardly put out policy papers with detailed reasoning, I'm not sure what you expect beyond informed guesses. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 9:12
  • I would like to see the "informed" part. A lot of people assume that Putin will start a war very soon so I really wanted to see what this is based on.
    – alamar
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 9:34
  • @alamar, would you be satisfied if I quote people who are paid for analyzing/guessing Russian intentions? If so, any bullet point in particular?
    – o.m.
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 14:29
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    @BeginnerBiker, with enough people voicing opinions, somebody is going to be right. Could be an educated guess, with emphasis on educated, or just plain luck. But invading nations often try to justify themselves, before the world community and their own domestic audience. That requires a marginally plausible explanation, and being seen to defuse the situation (even if covertly stoking the fires).
    – o.m.
    Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 18:44

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