President Putin has been the central figure of the crisis in Ukraine, and the most watched figure in international politics for the last 6 months. Given his status, it would be prudent to consider exactly what he has achieved in Ukraine.
President Putin had one major goal for the rebels he started supporting in eastern Ukraine: destabilize the country by creating an insurgency, thus weakening Kiev’s relative strength and negotiating position.
Clearly, Putin has achieved a significant destabilization and weakening of Ukraine, primarily by swaying public opinion in Eastern Ukraine from a tentative support of federalization, to a strong hostility towards Kiev and Western Ukrainians. As the course of the civil war turned in favor of the Kiev government forces, the eastern rebels began to operate more as an insurgency than as the conventional force it was earlier in the war. As a result, the rebels operated in more urban environments, forcing the Kiev forces to bomb and shell cities and towns. The mounting civilian casualties have turned public opinion in the east strongly against Kiev and towards Moscow.
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