Rumours of Putin addressing the nation Today
To change the status of the special operation
There are rumours abound that today Putin will address the nation to change the status of the “special operation” in Ukraine.
Unconfirmed reports from Readovka, an independent Russian news outlet, say that Security Council Secretary Patrushev said security gaps in Crimea must be immediately eliminated due to the increased level of terrorist threats. Previously, the head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, suggested that after the accession of new regions to Russia, a counter-terrorist operation would be carried out there.
On 27 September, Russian state media reported that over 90% of Donbass (Donetsk & Luhansk), Zaporozhe and Kherson voters favoured joining Russia. It was claimed that international observers from Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Serbia, Mozambique, France and the Central African Republic reported no violations, except for threats and shelling from Ukraine and noted the enthusiasm of the voters.
On the other hand, the US embassy in Georgia, referred to the elections as ‘Referendum at gunpoint’. They say the referendums were anything but free and fair. Russia had installed officials loyal to Putin to oversee the elections and Ukrainian civilians were forced to cast ballots under the watch of armed guards. The Kremlin used the false results to annex the four areas.
Nevertheless, on 30 September, Putin announced the four new regions of Russia, saying the citizens are “becoming our compatriots forever”. Biden said Putin “can’t seize his neighbour’s territory and get away with it”. These were signed into law this morning.
Today, apparently as a response to the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions, the EU approved new sanctions against Russia. These include import and export bans, a price cap on Russian oil, individuals and companies being added to a blacklist and a ban on EU nationals sitting on the governing board of Russian state companies.
This is the eighth round of sanctions since Russia started the war in February. The new measures are expected to be signed off either today or tomorrow.
Reports from the Wall Street Journal that the US is preparing its own sanctions, focusing on the financial sector, have resulted in the Yuan becoming more popular than the Dollar on the Moscow Stock Exchange for the first time ever.
Potential targets include government-linked Russian financial institutions critical to the country’s economy, according to U.S. officials, including the Russian Deposit Insurance Agency, which is intended to protect Russians’ bank accounts, and the National Payment Card System, or Mir, an electronic funds-transfer system. The U.S. suspects Moscow is using those institutions to evade Western sanctions on its banking system, the officials said.
Two other institutions under consideration as potential sanction targets are the government-linked intermediaries for the financial and securities markets, the Central Counterparty National Clearing Center and the National Settlement Depository, according to the officials.
The administration is also reviewing potentially cutting off more Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging system, adding export controls on a wider range of goods the economy needs to function, and sanctioning more state-run companies, they said.
However, Turkey have already announced that Russia can use their funds-transfer system, called Troy, which the US has far less leverage over.
So, how likely are these rumours that Putin will address the nation today? Yesterday, Putin reportedly said that “now we understand that the format of the special military operation is changing. In connection with the entry of new regions into Russia…a number of fundamental decisions were adopted…the worst time in its history is beginning for Ukraine”.
However, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary has denied the rumours. It has been reported that he has said that no decisions have been made to change the format of the special military operation to a counter-terrorist one.
On Friday, it is Putin’s 70th birthday and again rumours suggest that this is something he cares about and may want significant actions to be taken either before or on the day.
Whilst analysts think Russia is unlikely to go full on nuclear, there are still fears that a tactical strike will be used. Yesterday, the jittery Western media reported on a ‘nuclear train’ heading to Ukraine and iodine pills were being handed out in Kyiv just in case. In the crazy world we live in, the pills are even being advertised on Amazon.
NATO announced “We have not detected any change in the nuclear status of Russia, but we will remain vigilant.” Again, the media hyped up a Russian powerhouse submarine disappearing. Apparently, containing ‘apocalypse’ and ‘doomsday’ weapons, this sub was later spotted surfacing in the Arctic.
With unprecedent Russian losses, reports of further Ukrainian advances and another huge ($625 million) delivery of weapons from the US there is definitely the smell of something in the air. Hopefully that is the smell of peace, leading to the end of the war but in reality it is likely Putin will want to change tactics and so some announcement is likely. With a huge influx of recently mobilised soldiers, a change of status would unfortunately result in more unnecessary deaths.
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