Conflicto armado

Hay que prepararse para una guerra larga

Un fantasma nuclear recorre Europa, otra vez. La semana pasada, el presidente ruso Vladímir Putin ordenó la movilización de unos 300 000 reservistas y anunció que usará «todos los medios disponibles» para defender a Rusia, a lo que añadió: «no es una fanfarronada». Una veterana figura de la política europea me hizo notar que este coqueteo con el abismo nuclear es una invitación a desempolvar viejos volúmenes sobre la Guerra Fría, como On Thermonuclear War de Herman Kahn.

Es verdad que en medio de la euforia que siguió a las últimas victorias ucranianas en el campo de batalla, algunos comentaristas muestran un cauto optimismo respecto de que Ucrania pueda ganar la guerra en la primera mitad del año entrante.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman says goodbye to a recently drafted man in Bataysk, Russia, September 2022. Sergey Pivovarov / Reuters

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” intended to shore up his faltering war against Ukraine. The pretense that there is anything partial about this move, however, is about as convincing as Putin’s claim that Russia is merely carrying out a “special military operation” in Ukraine. After Putin’s announcement, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 300,000 men with military backgrounds would be drafted. But some reports indicate that is not the number stated in official documents authorizing the mobilization, and the parts of Putin’s decree that were made public do not include any restrictions on the Defense Ministry’s authorization to draft people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante los últimos días he recibido varios correos electrónicos de corresponsales que afirman que el “riesgo” de una guerra nuclear es “pequeño”, o que es “poco probable”. Merece la pena reflexionar detenidamente sobre el significado de estas predicciones. ¿Qué significa “poco probable” cuando hablamos de una guerra nuclear?

Se lo puedo traducir. Significa: “No tengo ni idea. Pero tengo un presentimiento”. Ese presentimiento se basa en suposiciones que pueden parecernos plausibles, pero de las que no podemos estar seguros. Creemos saber lo que Vladímir Putin considera de interés estratégico para él. Creemos que algún alma valiente de la estructura de mando rusa se negaría heroicamente a cumplir una orden presidencial de lanzar un ataque nuclear.…  Seguir leyendo »

La guerra es tan antigua como la humanidad, pero, paradójicamente, su salvajismo siempre ha estado enmarcado en las leyes. En la Edad Media no se luchaba en los días sagrados y, en nuestro tiempo, las convenciones prohíben, entre otras cosas, las armas químicas y confieren derechos a los prisioneros; en cierto modo, la guerra es una salvajada organizada. Pero una cosa es la guerra y otra la barbarie, que ha llevado a la noción de crimen de guerra, una transgresión inhumana e ilegítima del salvajismo.

Esta transgresión, el paso de la guerra al crimen de guerra, se hizo patente en 1916, con la masacre de los armenios por parte de los turcos, una violencia inusitada para la que hubo que crear una nueva palabra: genocidio.…  Seguir leyendo »

Anochece en Windsor, Putin apaga la luz

“Tan maravilloso fue el espectáculo de aquella mañana… cuando nueve reyes desfilaron en el funeral, que la multitud, callada y enlutada no pudo contener exclamaciones de admiración. Tras ellos llegaron cinco herederos, otras cuarenta altezas reales, siete reinas y una retahíla de embajadores especiales de países no monárquicos”.

“Representaban en total a setenta naciones, en la mayor asamblea de rango y realeza jamás reunida en ningún lugar del mundo. El sonido mortecino del Big Ben marcó las nueve cuando el cortejo dejó el palacio, pero en el reloj de la historia era ya el atardecer y el sol del viejo mundo se iba desvaneciendo en una moribunda llamarada de esplendor como nunca más volvería a verse”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons to ‘protect Russia’ – implying he may use them to defend the regions he is annexing. Photograph: AP

News of the Ukrainian army’s recent advances swept across western capitals like fresh air. A war that was for months mired in crushing artillery fire had suddenly opened up. Russian forces, outmaneuvered by the Ukrainian army, fled, again proving weaker than anyone expected. Hopes lifted that Ukraine could win the war and force their tormentor back to the prewar battlelines – and perhaps further.

Russia shared the same assessment. Vladimir Putin knows his military is badly damaged and getting weaker. The Russian president responded with military mobilization and preparations to annex the Ukrainian regions Russia now controls, just as he did in Crimea in 2014.…  Seguir leyendo »

A mural in a police station in Kupiansk, Ukraine, depicts a Russian soldier and a woman holding a Soviet flag. Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Starting this weekend, people in four occupied regions of Ukraine will “vote” on whether to join Russia. For many people, including my aunt and uncle, in Donetsk, what that really means is they will be forcibly absorbed into a country they do not want to be a part of.

Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in the south, are all at least partly occupied by Russia. The point of holding referendums in these places is to lend an air — however thin — of legitimacy to their annexation. Though of course, when Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, declared Russia’s support for the referendums, which had been announced earlier this week, he talked about “liberation”.…  Seguir leyendo »

A flag waves after the Ukrainian army liberated the town of Balakliya. (Metin Aktas / Anadolu Agency / Getty)

Over the past six days, Ukraine’s armed forces have broken through the Russian lines in the northeastern corner of the country, swept eastward, and liberated town after town in what had been occupied territory. First Balakliya, then Kupyansk, then Izium, a city that sits on major supply routes. These names won’t mean much to a foreign audience, but they are places that have been beyond reach, impossible for Ukrainians to contact for months. Now they have fallen in hours. As I write this, Ukrainian forces are said to be fighting on the outskirts of Donetsk, a city that Russia has occupied since 2014.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un tanque ruso abandonado en la ciudad de Izium, recuperada por las tropas de Ucrania, el pasado 20 de septiembre.GLEB GARANICH (REUTERS)

Mientras crece la incertidumbre y se agotan las opciones diplomáticas, la guerra sigue siendo la trágica realidad en Ucrania. Y, peor aún, en función de las actitudes de los actores enfrentados y de quienes los respaldan, todo indica que la paz sigue estando desgraciadamente muy lejana.

Por lo que respecta a Putin, resulta evidente que está dispuesto a multiplicar el esfuerzo para eliminar la existencia de Ucrania como Estado soberano o, como mínimo, para fragmentarlo definitivamente. A eso responde su llamamiento a la industria de defensa para que atienda todas las necesidades militares, como si no supiera que le exige un imposible, dado que sus propias deficiencias y el efecto de las sanciones le impiden contar con los materiales precisos para ello.…  Seguir leyendo »

Vladímir Putin apuesta al todo o nada y para ello necesita recuperar la iniciativa en Ucrania. Pese a los duros reveses sufridos en las últimas tres semanas, la retirada no es una opción que contemple aún. Putin hará todo lo que esté en su mano, y eso incluye el posible uso de armamento nuclear táctico, para evitar la derrota.

Putin ha concebido esta guerra como una cuestión existencial para Rusia y, además, sabe que tiene muy difícil sobrevivir política e incluso físicamente si se confirma la debacle rusa en Ucrania. Pero no tiene, en este momento, ninguna opción o solución óptima al alcance de la mano.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rescue workers and forensic police exhume bodies from makeshift graves at the Pishanske cemetery on Wednesday in Izyum, Ukraine. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

A video shows Ukrainian soldiers who have just freed the town of Balakliya from six months of Russian occupation. They tear down a Russian propaganda slogan from a billboard that declares, “We are one people with Russia”. To their surprise, another text comes to light beneath — a famous stanza from Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko, who was addressing an earlier generation of Ukrainians resisting Russian imperial rule: “Fight on and win! God himself will aid you”. Anyone who watches the scene can’t help but feel how the words resonate today — nearly 200 years after Shevchenko wrote them.

Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive has liberated at least 3,400 square miles of territory, mostly in the northeast, and cut off Russian supply routes.…  Seguir leyendo »

To confront Putin, Biden should study the Cuban missile crisis

As Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to salvage his failing invasion of Ukraine, there is a small but growing chance that he will use nuclear weapons. Historians will wonder how this war could have veered toward such insanity, but it’s now inescapably part of the landscape.

“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country … we will certainly make use of all weapons systems available to us. This is not a bluff”, Putin said in a speech broadcast Wednesday morning. His nuclear umbrella appears to include Ukrainian territory that Russia has seized or plans to annex.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ucrania, Rusia, Conflicto armado, Conflicto territorial,

Let’s not play down what has happened this week. The leader of the world’s largest nuclear power publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons. In an address in Moscow on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia would use “all weapon systems available to us” to defend the country. He emphasized, “This is not a bluff”.

It might be. Putin’s threat is at odds with traditional Soviet military doctrine, which once ruled out “first use”. Under his leadership, the Russian military now contemplates scenarios in which it could use nuclear weapons. But Putin knows that the West has powerful nuclear weapons of its own; and he knows that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” has prevented any power from deploying them since 1945.…  Seguir leyendo »

Destroyed Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, Izium, Ukraine, September 2022. Gleb Garanich / Reuters

In his September 21 speech about the steps he was taking to win his war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin had to explain why he had not already won. The culprit was NATO, which he faulted for the huge support it has given to Kyiv. When he said “we will certainly use all the means at our disposal” if Russia’s territorial integrity is violated, some saw a link with the earlier part of his speech when he referred to the proposed referendums in occupied territories. But that was left vague. It is hard to establish a redline in areas where the situation on the ground is so fluid.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protests in Moscow against partial mobilization announced by Vladimir Putin, who said his promise to use all military means in Ukraine was 'no bluff' and hinted Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons. Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images.

Until now, Russian nuclear doctrine consistently stated Russia would only use nuclear weapons first should the existence of the state be threatened, rather than its ‘territorial integrity’.

However, the planned referenda which aim to annex parts of Ukraine would mean any Ukrainian attempts to reclaim that territory could then be framed as a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity.

The impact of nuclear weapons use would be grave and would require a strong response – and therefore could escalate quickly to become a large-scale regional war and possibly all-out nuclear war.

Nuclear war cannot be won

The Reagan-Gorbachev statement that ‘nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought’ has been restated by all five nuclear weapon states twice, once in January 2022 weeks before the invasion of Ukraine began, and again in early August 2022 at the start of the NPT Review Conference.…  Seguir leyendo »

Putin Is in Trouble

In the wake of a stunning counteroffensive in which Ukrainian forces reclaimed over 1,000 miles of territory, Russia is uneasy.

The country’s political talk shows, usually so deferential, have given the floor to more critical voices. Opponents of the war have weighed in — about 40 officials from municipal councils signed a petition requesting the president’s resignation — and previously loyal figures have begun to mutter about the regime’s failings. In a sign of general discontent, Alla Pugacheva, Russia’s most famous 20th-century pop star, has come out against the war. Six months of consensus has started to crack.

That consensus wasn’t as cast-iron as it might have seemed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hasta el discurso de Vladímir Putin de este miércoles, con el que el líder ruso anunció la movilización de decenas de cientos de miles de reservistas, las capitales de la Alianza Atlántica parecían disfrutar de una ola de optimismo sin precedentes en los pasados meses de guerra en Ucrania.

Los recientes éxitos militares de Kiev habían alimentado las expectativas de que el conflicto concluyera antes de lo esperado y de que se produjese el regreso a la tan ansiada normalidad.

El guion que alimentaba estas esperanzas partía del supuesto de que Ucrania podía encadenar una serie de éxitos militares que expulsaran a Moscú de su territorio, y terminaba con la previsión de que este fracaso bélico desembocase en la caída de Putin y su reemplazo por un líder dispuesto a aceptar una Ucrania prooccidental.…  Seguir leyendo »

Llega el invierno y Putin está fracasando

Cuando el presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, lanzó su guerra de agresión contra Ucrania el 24 de febrero, evidentemente esperaba una victoria rápida y sencilla. Al haber dado a entender en sus discursos que Ucrania era una ficción endeble de un país, suponía que estaba llamada al colapso, a pesar de que comprometió casi el 85% del ejército en actividad de Rusia para lo que dio en llamar una “operación especial”.

Con el repentino éxito de la contraofensiva de las fuerzas armadas ucranianas en las últimas semanas, la guerra ha entrado en una nueva fase.

Obviamente, Putin se equivocó drásticamente en su percepción del país que estaba invadiendo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin is running out of time and good options in his failing invasion of Ukraine. So, now he’s rushing to implement bad ones — starting with a move toward quick annexation of regions in Ukraine where his occupation army is facing mounting pressure.

To bolster his sagging fortunes, Putin also announced Wednesday morning a partial mobilization of the Russian military. He warned: “We of course will use all the means at our disposal. This is not a bluff”. But it will take months to train these forces, and they will further complicate the Russian army’s already chaotic command-and-control system.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s truculent speech on Wednesday was his latest gambit to change the course of a conflict that is trending inevitably toward his country’s defeat. He announced a limited military mobilization and the imminent annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces (Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk) through sham referendums. To cap it all off, he issued veiled nuclear threats: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff”.

This was a version of the address Putin was widely expected to deliver on May 9, the Russian holiday commemorating victory in World War II, minus a declaration of war or general mobilization.…  Seguir leyendo »