While four other former Soviet Union nations are embroiled in their own battles, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army is losing territory, personnel, and equipment in the fight in Ukraine. This could eventually cause problems for Putin and Russia.
Two former Soviet states, Azerbaijan and Armenia, started fighting on their common border on Tuesday, and each side holds the other partially responsible. In the meantime, after the two former Soviet states agreed to a ceasefire in a different dispute, Kyrgyzstan accused Tajikistan of engaging in fresh shelling on Friday, according to Reuters.
As he continues to battle a war in Ukraine that has cost Russia several significant blows in recent days, Putin may find himself facing a new problem in the form of the outbreak of warfare among the former USSR members.
General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, declared on Sunday that his country’s forces had reclaimed 3,000 square kilometers of Russian territory since the beginning of September, with counteroffensives being conducted in the southern Kherson region and the eastern Kharkiv region.
According to the Open-source tracker Oryx, Ukrainian forces captured 388 pieces of Russian weaponry between September 7 and November 1. In addition, the Russian government has not verified estimates by the Ukrainian government that it has lost more than 54,000 of its personnel since the war’s commencement on February 24.
In addition to the reported losses in Ukraine, Russia is probably also dealing with a diminished Russian presence in the former Soviet Union states, where conflict has lately erupted.
In its campaign assessment from September 15, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted that since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine started in February, the Kremlin “has almost certainly drained a large proportion of the forces originally stationed in Russian bases in former Soviet states, likely weakening Russian influence in those states.”
It made reference to an investigation by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that was released this week and which, using local sources, claimed that hundreds of soldiers from a Russian air base in the Kyrgyz town of Kant had just been sent to fight in the Ukraine war.
The ISW assessment also took note of a recent report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that stated 600 more people will likely be transferred from other sites to join the 1,500 Russians who had already been transferred from a base in Tajikistan to Ukraine.
Additionally, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced on Facebook in mid-March that Russia intended to send some battalions to Ukraine from another Russian facility in Armenia.
A truce that went into effect late Wednesday appears to have lasted after a flurry of fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia resulted in more than 200 military deaths on both sides, according to the Associated Press.
But since Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are all members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, an organization akin to NATO, if fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia resumes as well as the alleged continued shelling by Tajikistan against Kyrgyzstan following their own ceasefire, Putin may find himself in an awkward situation (CSTO).
According to GlobalSecurity.org, Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) specifies that “attack against CSTO member nations is seen by other members as aggression against everyone.”
Putin may not be able to provide troops or attention to ongoing disagreements among the former USSR nations given that he is apparently dealing with manpower shortages and morale problems among the troops he does have in place in Ukraine.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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