Over the past XNUMX days, Ukraine has carried out military strikes on Russian bases in Crimea that show more force than the Ukrainian military has shown to date, and leading figures close to the Kremlin are calling for more substantial strikes against both military targets and civilians in Ukraine.
But according to an article by the American political scientist and writer, Ian Bremer, on the GZero website, even more serious is the fact that last weekend, the murder of Daria Dugina, daughter of Alexander Dugin, who was the real target of attack. He is a Russian ultra-nationalist, whose views have been frequently cited by Putin as well as other members of the Russian regime.
As Bremer notes, Dugin is literally the symbol of the most vitriolic and violent form of Russian nationalism. And now, after Daria's murder, Dugin is calling for retaliation against Ukraine, arguing that it should be wiped off the map.
What is Moscow planning?
It should also be taken into account that the Kremlin and Russia's state media are talking about the assassination as if it has already been proven that the Ukrainians were responsible, although it is quite clear that they still have no concrete evidence of this, Bremer says.
According to him, it is difficult to imagine that the Ukrainian government would give such an order as it benefits so much from being unfairly attacked by the Russians as well as from the argument that it is not a terrorist state and is not involved in such war games. Therefore, an order to kill Dugina would fall outside that narrative.
Of course, Bremer continues, this does not mean that the Ukrainians are not particularly to blame in times of war, as there are always extremists as well as other groups not necessarily directly related to the Ukrainian government.
But here we are dealing with an attack, a targeted attack and assassination just outside of Moscow, which the Russian government is treating as an extremely serious matter, says Bremer. At the same time, there have been media reports of Russian soldiers who the Russian government claims suffered severe chemical burns and disfigurements after fighting in Ukraine. Again, there is no evidence for any of this.
But all this may mean that the Russians are using this way in order to present to their people a further escalation in Ukraine as justified.
The current week is critical
It is known that Putin considers certain dates that are symbolic in nature important, and August 24 is not only the 6-month anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (February 24) but also Ukraine's Independence Day.
According to Bremer, these are all signs that the current week is likely to be particularly difficult. He even emphasizes that concern should also be caused by the possibility of confirming the worst possible scenario, i.e. the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
Bremer says he has a hard time imagining that happening on the battlefield right now, unless the Russians face serious losses to their forces inside Ukraine, which they don't currently have. However, the very fact that this possibility is being discussed shows how unpredictable and dangerous the situation has become.
Finally, it is worth noting that the Russians claim that the woman allegedly behind the attack on Dugin and his daughter has left Russia and is in Estonia, a country with which Moscow does not have friendly relations and which is one of the most ardent supporters of Ukraine.
Moreover, it is a member of NATO, and the fact that the Russians would call for action against the alleged murderer in a NATO member country is also something that points to the possibility of further escalation.
It is noted that, so far in the war between Russia and Ukraine, significant military aid has been given to the Ukrainians and severe economic sanctions have been imposed on the Russians, but there has been no direct conflict between NATO and Russia.