Vladimir Putin has not lost his mind and still wants to avoid sparking a nuclear World War 3, according to a former Russian minister.
Andrei V Kozyrev who worked at Russia's foreign minister between 1990 and 1996, claims there are three misguided yet rational reasons as to why the country's president ordered an invasion of Ukraine.
For all the talk of Putin going insane as he suffers from an alleged terminal illness, the Kremlin believing its own propaganda is more likely to have inspired waging war, Kozyrev says.
In a thread on Twitter, the US-based speaker and author warned the West against bowing to Putin's demands for concessions out of fear of a nuclear attack.
Rather Kozyrev believes Kremlin-spun lies about Ukraine, the military and US President Joe Biden all led to Putin's sane decision to storm a neighbouring state.
He wrote on Sunday: "First of all, I want to examine where the questioning of Putin’s rationality started. I think it began because most people, particularly in the West, view his decision to invade Ukraine as utterly irrational. I disagree. It’s horrific, but not irrational."
Breaking down the causes, Kozyrev explained it was best to 'step into Putin's shoes' and consider three beliefs he will have: Ukraine’s condition as a country; Russian military’s condition; The West’s geopolitical condition.
He said: "1. Ukraine’s condition. Putin spent the last 20 years believing that Ukraine is not a real nation and, at best, should be a satellite state. Maidan ended any hope of keeping Ukraine independent and pro-Kremlin. He thought the West was behind it.
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"If Ukraine’s government cannot be kept independent and pro-Kremlin covertly, as he likely concluded, then he will overtly force it to be. He also started to believe his own propagandists that Ukraine is run by a Nazi-Bandera junta. Perfect pretext to “de-Nazify” Ukraine."
"2. Russian military. The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military."
The third cause for a "rational" invasion according to Kozyrev stems from the Russian ruling elite believing its own propaganda that President Biden is "mentally inept" following America's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Under the same umbrella is Putin's view of the EU being weak based on toothless sanctions in 2014.
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Kozyrev said: "If you believe all three of the above to be true and your goal is to restore the glory of the Russian Empire (whatever that means), then it is perfectly rational to invade Ukraine. He miscalculated on all three, but that doesn’t make him insane. Simply wrong and immoral.
"So, in my opinion, he is rational. Given that he is rational, I strongly believe he will not intentionally use nuclear weapons against the West.
"I say intentionally because indiscriminate shelling near a nuclear power plant can cause an unintentional nuclear disaster in Ukraine."
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He added to wrap up the Twitter thread: "I will take it a step further. The threat of nuclear war is another example of his rationality.
"The Kremlin knows it can try to extract concessions, whether from Ukraine or the West, by saber-rattling its last remaining card in the deck: nuclear weapons.
"The ultimate conclusion here is that the West should not agree to any unilateral concessions or limit its support of Ukraine too much for the fear of nuclear war."
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