Ukraine updates: Putin ‘doesn’t have a plan B’

A former speechwriter for Vladimir Putin tells DW he believes the Russian leader has no “plan B” in Ukraine. Meanwhile, US President Biden is meeting with leaders from NATO’s eastern flank. Follow DW for the latest.

President Vladimir Putin’s former speechwriter Abbas Gallyamov told DW he believes the Russian leader has no backup plan, as the invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark.

“The main impression is … that he doesn’t have a plan B,” Gallyamov said, adding that “100% of Russian elites and half of the Russian general population … understand in general that the situation is going in the wrong direction.”

Gallyamov said there was a “big expectation” among Russians there would be an announcement about Putin’s next steps in a state of the nation address he delivered on Tuesday.

This would either be “declaring a big war” and “total mobilization,” or speaking “more about peace and negotiations,” neither of which happened, Gallyamov pointed out.

On the likelihood of there being a coup in Russia, Gallyamov said that it was off the cards for now.

“The Russian military, who theoretically can arrange this through the Russian special services, they are ruined, literally — their identity is ruined, their self-esteem is ruined by the Ukrainians, by the Ukrainian army,” Putin’s former speechwriter explained.

Gallyamov said Putin faced a serious challenge in relation to the 2024 presidential elections, should developments in Ukraine not go his way. “Because if he doesn’t win the war, if he doesn’t deliver this victory, he will face serious problems. People understand that,” he said.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, February 22:

Biden meeting eastern flank NATO leaders

US President Joe Biden will conclude a two-day visit to Poland by holding talks with countries on NATO’s eastern flank.

The Bucharest Nine is made up of the countries situated on the most eastern parts of the alliance — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

Biden is expected to reassure allies in the region of Washington’s support as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine.

“When Russia invaded, it wasn’t just Ukraine being tested. The whole world faced a test for the ages,” Biden said in an address in Warsaw.

Russian forces continue targeting Bachmut

Ukraine’s military said that Russian forces have continued attacking the eastern town of Bachmut,

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that there had been 59 missile attacks over a 24-hour period. This figure could not be independently verified.

There has been fierce fighting in the region for months, with Russian forces concentrating on the strategically important town.

UN General Assembly to vote on peace resolution

The UN General Assembly is expected to vote on a draft resolution calling for a “just and lasting peace” in Ukraine, one year since Moscow launched its invasion.

The text “underscores the need to reach, as soon as possible, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in line with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The draft resolution, which is sponsored by some 60 countries, is to be voted on after the close of debate, which is not expected until at least Thursday.

Russia’s first criminal case against Ukrainian soldier

The first criminal case involving a member of Ukraine’s military has gone to court, according to Russian state media agency TASS.

The agency cited unnamed sources at the Southern District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don as saying that a senior sergeant of Ukraine’s marines was charged with murder and training for the purpose of terrorism.

In June, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Telegram that the soldier had been charged with cruel treatment of the civilian population.

TASS reported that the court will consider the case “in the near future.”

More on the war in Ukraine

The European Union fast-tracked COVID shots when it was scrambling to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Will its experience with vaccines work for procuring much-needed missiles for Ukraine? Read more here.

Research by a German think tank reveals that US, EU and German aid to Kyiv pales in comparison to past conflicts. Just how much have they given to support the country Russia invaded almost 12 months ago? Find out here.

DW looks at the state of the Russian economy, one year into its invasion of Ukraine.

kb/nm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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