Putin’s doomsday plane ‘little fishy’ says Clapper
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The Russian assault on Ukraine entered its third month last week, with thousands of locals and soldiers dead but holding on to their country. Putin’s soldiers are rounding on some of the country’s key metropoles, now spurred by his Victory Day show of force in Moscow. He shows no sign of backing down, and a well-known Russian saying he has previously used may explain his attitude toward the war.
Putin has long preferred to communicate with the Russian public via speeches, having made several on-air statements over the course of the invasion.
They have functioned as direct warnings to the west and included thinly veiled threats of nuclear war.
In February, he said he had put Russia’s deterrent on “high alert”, and he has since suggested he would bolster the country’s nuclear presence in the Baltics.
But while these are chilling enough, one saying of his included in a 2014 speech trumps every recent statement he has made.
In March 2014, following the Russian annexation of Crimea, he quoted a famous Russian proverb.
He said: “For the community, even death is beautiful.”
Eminent French philosopher and Russian thought expert Michel Eltchaninoff said it showed he was “prepared to die” for Russia.
Putin has previously discussed his vision of the Russian people, who he believes abide by a “superior moral principle”.
He said the trait explained his country’s “mass heroism” in its military campaigns.
Putin has insisted the quality puts Russia in harsh contrast with the west, which, by comparison, is centred on economic success.
Russian propaganda has driven that point home since the invasion began, most notably during the Victory Day celebrations.
The occasion allowed Putin to showcase Russia’s military might with a parade through Moscow’s Red Square.
On May 9, soldiers passed through the city in a show of force accompanied by 77 planes and helicopters, among them the “largest transport helicopter in the world”.
The Russian military also announced it would showcase its “Doomsday” plan, designed to take command during a nuclear conflict.
But Putin’s speech took a very different focus and portrayed separatists fighting on Moscow’s side in Donbas as victims of western aggression.
He asked attendees to bow their heads for “the elderly, women and children of Donbas” who he claimed died of “merciless shelling” and “barbaric strikes” from Neo-Nazis.
Western accounts have disputed the claim, stating that separatist forces have failed to gain ground in heavily fortified areas of Donbas controlled by Ukraine.
US intelligence has suggested Putin is also preparing to launch attacks beyond the region.
Speaking to the Senate armed services committee, national intelligence director Avril Haines said her department believes Putin is “preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine”.
She added: “We assess that Putin’s strategic goals have probably not changed, suggesting he regards the decision in late March to refocus Russian forces on the Donbas is only a temporary shift to regain the initiative.”
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