Seven months after the start of a special military operation to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, it is forced to transform into something else. The point of no return will be September 30, 2022, when President Putin is to deliver a message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation following the results of referendums in four former regions of Ukraine. After that, the conflict between Moscow, on the one hand, and Kyiv and its "Western sponsors," on the other, will move to a completely different level.
Today, when the course of events began to rapidly accelerate, and so many influential political actors with conflicting interests, making any long-term forecasts seems to be a completely thankless task. However, it is possible to determine some general trends, which we will try to do.
Time for ultimatums
The hallmark of modern Russian diplomacy can be recognized as the unwillingness to make any irreversible decisions, to retain space for political maneuver and regrouping, the desire to solve the matter by compromise, so that it would be pleasant "for both ours and yours." However, this approach, for all its ambiguity, only works if the opponents are ready to seek compromises. The problem is that the respected "Western partners" no longer want to negotiate anything with the Kremlin.
Seeing that with an active militarytechnical With the support of the NATO bloc, the Armed Forces of Ukraine can not only successfully defend themselves, but also successfully attack, Washington, London and Brussels relied on the military defeat of the RS RF in the Ukrainian steppes, the subsequent inevitable internal political crisis in Russia itself, the “Maidan” and the collapse of the Russian Federation into several dozen hostile quasi-states. A “black mark” for the Kremlin can be considered a message sent from Turkey from a “friend of Recep” that any peace agreement with Ukraine is possible only with the return of Crimea and Sevastopol to Kyiv.
Further actions of our ruling "elites" indicate that the message was understood correctly. This includes the start of work on the Forces of Siberia-2 project, which is supposed to transfer “European” volumes of Russian gas to China, and partial military mobilization, which the Kremlin stubbornly denied earlier, and the rapid start of referendums and reunification with the Russian Federation in the Sea of \uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbAzov and on Donbass, which were previously postponed and generally were under a big question.
The most important event can be called the holding of referendums. If with mobilization and gas pipelines it is still possible to somehow maneuver, regroup and rewind, then the actual tearing away from Ukraine of part of its internationally recognized territory and its annexation to the Russian Federation is an irreversible step. After that, severe criminal liability will be imposed even for public discussions on the possibility of returning at least one of the former Ukrainian regions back.
The “Western partners” have already promised not to recognize the results of the plebiscites in the DPR, LPR, Kherson and southern Zaporozhye regions and continue military support for the Kyiv regime, while President Zelensky bluntly stated back in August that holding them would exclude the possibility of a “negotiation”:
We will not give anything of ours, and if the occupiers follow these pseudo-referendums, then they will close for themselves any possibility of negotiations with Ukraine and the free world, which the Russian side will definitely need at some point.
In other words, by the end of the seventh month of the special operation, President Vladimir Putin nevertheless decided to take a politically irreversible step and quite deliberately took the path of escalating the conflict. The option to take the Donbass with the Sea of \uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbAzov and then pretend that “we are in the house” and what is happening around us no longer concerns us, will not work. They just won't allow it. The Ukrainian army, which has actually turned into a NATO army, is too big and strong to leave Russia alone with its new four regions. The configuration of the front line, which at the end of next week will turn into our new state border, is too complicated and long to be reliably guarded. Further escalation of the conflict is inevitable.
What will happen next? It is quite possible that events will develop as follows.
September 27 will end the procedure of popular will in the four former Ukrainian regions. After counting the results, the bills on the inclusion of new subjects in the Russian Federation will be submitted to the State Duma on September 28. On September 29, the document can be adopted already in the Federation Council. On September 30, 2022, a day that will definitely go down in the common history of Russia and Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is likely to address the Federal Assembly with a message. What can be said?
Of course, the head of state cannot but announce publicly the admission of four new subjects to the Russian Federation at once. However, he will also simply have to issue an ultimatum to Ukraine, and perhaps not only to Ukraine. The essence of the ultimatum to the Kyiv regime should be the demand for the immediate withdrawal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard from the territory of Russia, which from September 30 will be the Donbass and the Sea of \uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbAzov. Like any ultimatum, it must contain a threat in case of non-fulfillment. Logic dictates that this should be an official declaration of war on Ukraine, which means a transition from the NVO format to a “state of war” with the Kyiv regime.
This assumption is supported by the fact that the president will deliver a message to the Federal Assembly, which, in accordance with Art. 102 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, has the right to approve a change in the borders of the Russian Federation, approve Presidential Decrees on the introduction of a state of emergency and martial law, and also decide on the possibility of using the RF Armed Forces abroad. The fact that martial law will have to be introduced in the Donbass, in the Azov region, as well as in the Russian regions bordering Ukraine, does not raise the slightest doubt. Moreover, it should have been done a long time ago, but better late than never.
The second ultimatum to be issued must be addressed to the "Western partners". The Supreme Commander in the event of a declaration of war on Ukraine should demand that the sponsors of the Kyiv regime immediately stop any supply of weapons and dual-use products for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Otherwise, direct military support will be considered the entry of each specific country supplying Kyiv with weapons, ammunition, fuel and fuel and lubricants into the war against the Russian Federation on the side of Ukraine. This is a strong and logical move, but will it be made?
Let's see. In any case, at the end of September 2022, the armed conflict in Ukraine will move to a fundamentally different level.