Russia could face ‘economic collapse’ over Ukraine says expert
The news comes as a tense stand-off continues on the Russian border with the former Soviet bloc country. Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to appease the situation, with Moscow demanding the US and other NATO nations provide a concrete guarantee that Ukraine will never be a part of the alliance, and the defence pact stop arming Eastern European members.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Scott Lucas, a Professor of International Politics from the University of Birmingham, and Chief Editor of EA World News said that Russia is, in fact, fighting a “hybrid war.”
With the build-up of troops heavily present on the Ukrainian border, Professor Lucas suggested the move is being used to distract attention away from Russia’s other influences.
He claimed: “The hybrid war that Russia has been undertaking since 2014 is in some cases direct military operations in Crimea, as well as links to political activity.
“But for the rest of Ukraine, has been the attempt to purchase or buy off certain oligarchs or politicians to try to get them on Moscow’s side.”
President Putin is waging “hybrid” warfare according to Professor Lucas
Professor Scott Lucas, Chief Editor of EA Worldview, and Professor of International Politics
Professor Lucas added: “It’s been the support of the separatists with weapons with logistics with advisors, and with special forces.
“It’s been the willingness to supply those weapons even when for example in 2014 the Malaysian passenger jet was shot down with the loss of over 300 lives.
“It is the willingness to carry out cyber-attacks, repeated cyber-attacks not just on Ukraine, but also on the Baltic states where Putin has been trying to destabilise the area going all the way back to 2007.”
Professor Lucas also claimed the hybrid strategy reaches further than Russia’s immediate neighbours.
He said: “It is the willingness to carry out economic sabotage, to threaten the cut off of energy supplies, and this hybrid war beyond Ukraine and the Baltic states is against Europe and the United States.
“The intervention in elections, including the support of Donald Trump winning in 2016.
“The attempt to defeat or undermine Macron in France, to undermine Merkel in Germany is part of this hybrid warfare.
“Which is linked to widespread disinformation and widespread propaganda operations.”
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Professor Lucas also claimed Russia is reaching out to wider audiences in its attempt to influence a broader circle.
On Sunday it was revealed Russia is reportedly attempting to place a pro-Russian leader into power in Ukraine.
The Foreign Office reported Moscow may topple the government and install Yevhen Murayev, a former MP who controls a pro-Russia television station.
Mr Murayev denied the allegations stating that he was in fact banned from entering Russia.
While the threat of an invasion has been dismissed by President Putin, Professor Lucas claims it is highly unlikely.
He said: “For Russia, an invasion is possible, but the operation would come with the risk of battling an insurgency should Russians actually invade Ukraine.”
This claimed the Professor would result in a long-term war that Russia will not want to pursue.
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Russia is using the media to reach wider audiences
For President Putin, timing is also key when it comes to acting on a war front with Ukraine.
Professor Lucas said: “This phase of putting troops on the border, so the threat of a cross-border military invasion is just the latest phase in the tactics of Mr Putin.
“It’s a series on ongoing tactics, which have been going on for years, that have been quite successful in keeping Ukraine unsettled.”
He added Ukraine also has its own problems.
“Problems with corruption, problems with the political elite which is split because, as some in Ukraine do support Moscow, and are quite happy to be in Moscow’s pocket,” said Professor Lucas.
The US and EU are yet to agree on how to deal with Russian hybrid warfare
He ended by saying “If Putin’s gamble fails, and the gamble here is two-pronged, what does he then do?
“Simply being checked or deterred from a cross-border military invasion is not a loss for Putin, because this gamble was never invasion or nothing.
“This gamble was put troops on the border, which gives Putin space, as everybody focuses on the troops, to carry out the hybrid warfare that he has been doing for the past 8 years.
“The real challenge for Mr Putin, will be as Anthony Blinken signalled, that the US and Europe will begin to take measures against the hybrid warfare.
“So for example they may step up economic sanctions because of Russia’s ongoing activities, and not simply from any new cross-border invasion.”
In a stark warning, however, Professor Lucas ended: “We are years away from that because the US and Europe are not on the same page on how to respond to hybrid warfare, but that would be the crunch point if that took place, short of Putin actually acting, and actually starting a hot war in Eastern Ukraine.”