The days surrounding the anniversary of the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine will be full of evidence of the steadfastness of Western support for Ukraine — for example, the Munich Security Conference will begin tomorrow, at which politicians from Ukraineʼs allied states, including US Vice President Kamala Harris, will assure Kyiv of their readiness to support Ukraine as long as necessary. Joe Biden will visit Poland — which is symbolic both because Poland once belonged to Moscowʼs orbit of influence, and because now it is one of NATOʼs outposts and Kyivʼs most active allies. In dozens of statements, statements were and will be made that Putin has no chance of winning this war, so he should abandon his aggressive plans. But the Russian dictator himself, as CNN political commentator Stephen Collinson writes in an article on his media companyʼs website, is unlikely to agree with this. And to convince Putin that he is on the way to defeat is the main and most difficult task of the West.
Putin was often guided by his own logic in his views on the world, writes Collinson. And what from the outside looks like the economic decline of Russia with its diplomatic isolation, like the thoughtless use of underequipped troops and desperate attempts to at least somehow harm Ukraine, the Kremlin can see as temporary and insignificant difficulties. That is why the victory over the occupier must be so decisive and convincing that even the Russians do not get the impression that they have a chance of defeating the civilized world. Collinson writes about Putinʼs greatest hope — that the democratic societies of the West will "get tired" of the war and support for Ukraine, and this will change the balance in favor of Russia. However, as long as this is likely to happen, Ukraine will still receive huge shipments of weapons — and it is Russia that looks close to a crushing defeat. The Russiansʼ greatest hope is China, which benefits from Washingtonʼs focus on a proxy war with Russia. Therefore, Collinson suggests, although Beijing is ashamed of such a "strategic partner", it can still lend a hand to the weakened Russians in the form of financial and military aid, so that it will fight a little longer.
Anticipating such a development, Western diplomats are already actively working with official Beijing to dissuade it from such an idea. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman recently warned China that supporting Putin in the long term will only bring losses and disappointment to China. "You end up with an albatross around your own neck," she told the Chinese side at a meeting in the US, referring to an American saying about the burden of guilt, which is like a dead albatross around your neck, preventing you from moving freely. ― The Ukrainians will inflict a strategic defeat on Putin. And those who supported this criminal invasion will have only a handful of problems."