“Putin is preparing for a major war”.

With a new law, Russia has tightened its requirements for conscripting soldiers. Among other things, the age limit for conscription has been raised from 27 to 30. Men are no longer allowed to leave the country after being drafted into the military.

In many places in the West, this step is seen as a sign of how high Russia’s losses are in the war against Ukraine. An expert now warns against underestimating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s will to go to war.

It is “understandable” that the West is following the narrative of a weakened Kremlin,  says Alexander Gabuev, director of the “Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center” in a guest article in the Financial Times. According to Gabuev, the Russian leadership continues to believe that it can afford a long war. Thanks to high energy profits, the war chest is full despite Western sanctions, he says. Gabuev argues that Putin is likely bent on further escalation: “The legislation that allows the Kremlin to send hundreds of thousands of men into battle reveals a sad truth: Vladimir Putin, far from wanting to put his disastrous war in Ukraine behind him, is preparing for a bigger war.”

Image: Kremlin.ru, Vladimir Putin (2022-08-18) 02, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (image size modified)

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