Since Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to call the operation a “war.” Reuters pointed out that the situation has now changed. Putin and other Moscow officials have recently begun to use the word “war” frequently.
Putin has long referred to the Russo-Ukraine war as a “special military operation,” a euphemism used by the Kremlin, ministers and state media, Reuters reported. In addition, shortly after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out, Russia enacted a series of laws prohibiting the Russian media from using the word “war” to refer to the conflict, otherwise they will be ordered to close down.
In response to what Russia said was a massive Ukrainian drone attack on Moscow, Putin referred to Ukraine four times as a “war” last week, according to a transcript provided by the Kremlin. Putin said: “No matter what we say, they want to blame Russia, but this is wrong, we did not start this war, I repeat, the Kiev regime started this war in the Donbas region in 2014 war.”
The conversation was broadcast on the all-important Sunday slot on Russian state television (Rossiya). Kremlin reporter Pavel Zarubin told the audience that Putin had devoted a lot of time to the conflict.
According to Reuters, in recent months, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, Kremlin Spokesperson Peskov, Foreign Minister Lavlov and the head of the mercenary organization Wagner Group Prigozin have all used the term “war” in public.
“We basically live in a state of war,” said Gratkaff, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which has been under frequent artillery fire recently.
Russia’s elite privately referred to the conflict as a war and are now increasingly adopting the term in public, Reuters reported.
A Moscow-based Western diplomat said it was shocking that Putin and the Russian elite appeared to be breaking their own rules. “More importantly, what kind of future do these shifts portend, will the conflict be fought in a more resolute manner? What will Russia at war look like?” he said.
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