Russia partners like China and India expressing concerns over Ukraine may have forced Putin's hand and driven him to try and end the war quickly, Russia scholar says

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a photo and shake hands before their talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Friday September 16, 2022.
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Some of Putin's global partners expressed concern about his war in Ukraine last week.
Days later, Putin escalated the war by announcing military mobilization and threatening nuclear war.
A Russia expert told Insider that Putin may have acted out of fear of straining ties with nations like China and India.
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week escalated his unprovoked war on Ukraine just days after some of his perceived partners publicly expressed doubts about it - and the events may well be related.
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Since February's invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been shunned by much of the world and faced crippling Western sanctions. But as Russia became more isolated, some nations have either stood by Putin or avoided condemning him outright.
Both China and India were powerful partners of Russia throughout the war, which refused to impose sanctions and continued to buy the country's energy products. However, leaders of both countries have recently taken the rare step of speaking out against the war.
During a Sept. 15 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan, Putin acknowledged that Xi has "questions and concerns" about the war. The following day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the war in a face-to-face meeting with Putin.
"I know today's era is not an era of war and I spoke to you on the phone about it," Modi told Putin, Reuters reported.
Putin replied: “I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine and I know your concerns. We want all of this to end as soon as possible.”
Less than a week later, on Wednesday, Putin said he was calling 300,000 reservists to fight, which he avoided for fear of backlash from the Russian people. The announcement, in which he also threatened to use nuclear weapons, came after Ukraine's military made huge strides in recent weeks.
Experts told insiders it will take weeks or months for the mobilized troops to be trained, equipped and deployed. They also said Putin's decision to take the step now shows how badly the war is going for Russia and how desperate the Russian leader is to turn the tide.
"That Putin would do this shows how much he feels right now to change the dynamics, all of which have been in Ukraine's favour," said Daniel Treisman, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work focuses on Russian Politics and politics are concentrating on business, insiders said.
Aside from fears of another possible Ukraine counteroffensive, Putin was also likely driven by Xi and Modi's concerns -- and his fear of losing key partners -- according to Robert English, a professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in Russia, the Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe.
"The evidence of criticism of allies like China or neutral states like India clearly puts more pressure on him," English told Insider. He added that the leaders of these nations appear to have told Putin that they do not condone the situation in Ukraine because it damages their reputation on the world stage and costs them economically and politically.
English said what he believes Putin heard was, "'Find a way to end this war so quickly, because we will not stand by your side for another six months of this brutality.'"
"He heard a message like this, so he's trying to up the ante," English said. "He's trying to change the military balance as best he can."
If Putin has mobilized troops to end the war as soon as possible, as he assured Modi he would aim to do, it is not at all clear whether this will succeed.
"It is an unsatisfactory and inadequate response to the motivation, manpower and materiel on the Ukrainian side," English said, explaining that military aides and intelligence agencies from western Ukraine gave Ukraine an advantage on the battlefield. "It won't do the job."
Read the original article on Business Insider
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia
Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India since 2014

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