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Putin in search of war justification: Reasons behind Russia's plans to create demilitarized zone in Ukraine

Putin in search of war justification: Reasons behind Russia's plans to create demilitarized zone in Ukraine Vladimir Putin (Photo: Getty Images)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin today expressed a desire to "move the line of confrontation" and create a "demilitarized zone" to protect the Russian Federation from Ukrainian strikes. Thus, Putin may be attempting to find justification for continuing the war against Ukraine, says Oleksandr Musiienko, the Head of the Сenter of Military Law Researches, in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

What Putin said

Today, at a meeting with his trusted individuals on the Russian elections, the Russian dictator reacted to Ukrainian strikes deep in the rear of Russia. In particular, he spoke about the need for a demilitarized zone to prevent long-range weapon strikes.

Putin also emphasized that Russian troops would "continue moving along the entire line of confrontation" deep into Ukraine.

Expert commentary

According to Musiienko, there are several reasons for such a statement by the Russian dictator. He is seeking justification for continuing the war with Ukraine and trying to push the narrative among Russians that the war has become defensive rather than aggressive.

"Now the motivation for continuing the war is supposedly the need to defend Russia already, and now the war is supposedly defensive," he explains.

Additionally, according to the expert, Putin is also trying to justify to Russians the daily flights of Ukrainian drones over Russian territory and the strikes on occupied Crimea.

"Ukraine is increasing its military capabilities, and Putin's statement is an acknowledgment of this. Drones pose an increasing threat to the Russian military-industrial complex, industrial facilities, and everything that finances the war. Just last year, when a drone hit the Kremlin, Putin's reaction was relatively calm. He didn't then talk about moving the line or creating a demilitarized zone. Apparently, this is recognition of Ukrainian achievements and capabilities," Musiienko notes.

Another reason for such a statement, according to the expert, is the symbolic pre-election campaign of Putin. As a presidential candidate, he will still have to make such statements, he explained.

"In addition, in this way, he is trying to intimidate Ukraine, although they are advancing now. I don't really understand what else he needs. They announced Krokhmalne, which is a front-line shift. Now Russia is advancing on the front, that's a fact. Well, let them try to move it back, but probably not very successfully," Musiyenko concluded.

Russia's claims about the demilitarized zone

It should be noted that Putin is not the first to voice the idea of creating a demilitarized zone. Earlier this January, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that the military would take measures to protect Belgorod from Ukrainian shelling, after which discussions in Russia began about an advance into the Kharkiv region to create a 15-kilometer buffer zone.

At the same time, the spokesperson for the Ground Forces of Ukraine, Volodymyr Fityo, advised Ukrainians to trust only official Ukrainian sources and assured that the Russians had no success on the front in the Kharkiv region.

Military experts, in their commentary to RBC-Ukraine, considered ideas about a buffer zone to be nothing more than fantasies of Russian generals.