Russian authorities will “struggle to establish governance structures” over four annexed Ukrainian provinces due to “bureaucratic incompetence,” according to the Washington D.C. based Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Vladimir Putin signed “accession treaties” merging Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson into the Russian Federation on Friday. This followed referendums in the four regions, which were dismissed as “rigged” and a “sham” by Western powers.
The move sparked a furious response from the world’s leading democracies, with the G7 group of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K and the U.S. issuing a joint statement saying they would “never recognize” the annexation, which they branded “a new low point in Russia’s blatant flouting of international law.” After the announcement fresh sanctions were imposed on Russia by the U.S., E.U. and U.K.
In its latest assessment of Russia’s Ukraine invasion, published on September 30, the ISW said Russia will likely struggle to control the annexed territory.
The think tank said: “Putin likely rushed the annexation of these territories before making even basic administrative decisions on boundaries and governance. Russian officials have therefore not set clear policies or conditions for proper administration.
“Organizing governance for these four forcibly annexed oblasts would be bureaucratically challenging for any state after Russian forces systematically killed, arrested, or drove out the Ukrainian officials who previously ran the regional administrations.
“But the bureaucratic incompetence demonstrated by the Kremlin’s attempted partial mobilization of Russian men suggests that Russian bureaucrats will similarly struggle to establish governance structures over a resistant and unwilling population in the warzone that is Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.”
On Saturday Ukrainian forces recaptured the Donetsk city of Lyman, with Russia admitting its troops had withdrawn “because of the threat of encirclement.”
In response Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Putin strongman who runs Russia’s Chechnya region, suggested “low-yield nuclear weapons” should be deployed.
Writing on social media platform Telegram he said: “In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.”
After Friday’s annexation ceremony, at Moscow’s Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin insisted Russia would “protect” its newly claimed lands “with all the forces and means at our disposal.”
Speaking to Newsweek Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the London based Henry Jackson Society think tank, said: “Putin is trying to end the war with a tangible territorial gain, as ultimately, he would struggle to politically survive anymore embarrassments on the battlefield.”
In addition to Ukraine’s regular forces Russia is facing partisan attacks in areas of Ukraine under its control, with Russian troops and local collaborators targeted by bombings and shootings.
After the mobilization order videos of apparently drunk Russian conscripts were widely shared across social media.
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