Will Putin Respond to Kherson Offensive in Ukraine By Striking NATO Territory?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin officials have repeatedly hinted at the possibility of launching strikes on NATO territory, though much in the same way they threatened nuclear warfare, many of those claims were backtracked with clarifications that NATO convoys would only be attacked on Ukrainian soil.
At least one United States legislator is concerned, however, that Putin may be compelled to launch attacks on NATO soil as his war effort in Ukraine continues to struggle.
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican representing Florida who also sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern on Sunday that an increasingly desperate Putin could launch attacks against NATO forces.
Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio explained that Putin is “down to two choices.”
“They can design defensive lines and say, ‘here’s where we’re going to draw some lines and this is the territory we’re going to try to hold on to’ and concentrate his forces in that regard, and take a couple of years to retrofit their forces or… they can retreat and continue to lose territory,” the Republican legislator said.
Rubio noted how the Russian president may decide that the arming of Ukraine by Europe and the United States is the reason his military is losing in Ukraine, and therefore the cause for him losing his grip on power, and ultimately decide to respond with military strikes on NATO.
“I think it’s quite possible that he could end up striking some of these distribution places where these supplies are coming through, including inside Poland,” Rubio added.
He May Have A Point After Kherson Victories
On Sunday, Russian social media pages painted a picture of desperation within the Russian Armed Forces.
Popular war analysis account WarMonitor noted how Russian forces were “requesting urgent air support on social media on the Kherson frontline near the breakthroughs.”
The post follows what could be the single-largest advance made by the Ukrainian military since the beginning of the war, with Ukrainian troops reportedly already having broken through Russia’s lines of defense in “annexed” Kherson and reached as far as Berislav.
Analyst Rob Lee also shared screenshots of Russian social media posts which suggested Ukrainian forces were succeeding in Kherson Oblast, pushing Russian forces back to Dudchany.
“Another says the situation could soon become critical, another says Ru forces need to prepare for urban warfare and that Ukraine is hitting their lines where they are weak,” Lee said.
Other analysts also described how Russian forces were believed to have retreated in Kherson by as much as 25km.
If the rumors of a wildly successful Ukrainian offensive in Kherson are true, it’s bad news for Russia at a time when the Kremlin can only depend on the threat of nuclear warfare to prevent continued military and financial support for Ukraine from NATO allies.