‘Putin won both land and eternal enemy’

Former Moscow Ambassador Halil Akıncı evaluated the Kremlin’s decision to annex Ukraine for the second time after Crimea to the Republic. Speaking about Moscow’s approach to annexation, Akıncı stated that “the Russian administration and the Russian political elites think that the newly formed administrative borders after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had a federal structure but was governed as a unitary system, are not compatible with ethnic and cultural borders.”

Reminding that Russia tied Crimea to itself in a similar way in 2014, Akıncı said that when Kiev saw a tendency to approach the West at that time and the naval base in the Black Sea remained within the borders of Ukraine, Moscow annexed it to intimidate.

He said that since Russia did not receive a strong reaction from the West in Crimea, it has put the use of military force on its agenda again. Akıncı said that Europe and the USA learned lessons from what happened in Crimea, and trained, strengthened and integrated the Ukrainian army more with itself. The retired diplomat also said that NATO’s “strategy of encircling Russia by expanding into Ukraine, which is almost seen as Moscow’s own province in the Kremlin,” is the last straw for Putin.


Stating that Putin’s military operation was a mistake from the beginning, Akıncı said, “No one in the world can completely occupy another country of 40 million people at the moment.” Adding that the Ukrainian army gave a strong reaction to the occupation, Akıncı evaluated that this creates a disadvantage for the Russian leader in the sense that “Russia will not hesitate to use military force, but the Russian army can be stopped”.

Saying that the referendum held in four regions in Ukraine and the subsequent annexation decision will increase the hatred and hostility towards Russia in the West and Ukraine, Akıncı said, “Putin won land, and the price of this was to create an eternal enemy.”