Although US intelligence agencies are warning that Russia is mobilizing its ground forces for an attack on Ukraine, it is still tempting to think that Russian President Vladimir Putin would never actually follow through on such a risky move. Yet when a strongman has so few good options for retaining power, the risk calculus changes, argues Freeworld Forum’s Senior Fellow Anders Åslund in an article for Project Syndicate.
US intelligence agencies warn that Russia is mobilizing some 175,000 troops near its border with Ukraine. But a force of that size would not suffice. Ukraine’s active military forces comprise 250,000 troops, many with ample battle experience, who would be defending their homeland against soldiers who may have no higher aim than collecting their salaries.