Vladimir Putin’s threatening televised speech on Wednesday was much more than an attempt to turn the tide of his failing war on Ukraine. He attempted to reverse a war of aggression against a neighbor into a war of defense of a threatened “homeland,” a theme that resonates with Russians steeped in patriotic history.
Putin, the Russian president, aimed for nothing less than to change the meaning of war for his country, raising the stakes for the whole world. He warned the West in no uncertain terms – “it’s not a bluff” – that trying to weaken or defeat Russia could lead to a nuclear cataclysm.
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