Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin discussed on Morning Edition

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Of it. Weekdays at noon. On WNYC. It's morning edition from NPR news. I'm Rachel Martin. And I'm Leila Fulton, Russia is expanding its territory by taking Ukrainian land. Vladimir Putin will sign treaties with four occupied Ukrainian provinces and annex them after staged referenda where many people were coerced to vote in favor of joining Russia. He will speak just hours after an attack inside that occupied territory near separation. That attack killed more than 20 people and wounded dozens more. The U.S. and much of the international community is calling the annexation of violation of international law. Here's White House press secretary karine Jean Pierre. We will never recognize these illegal and illegitimate attempts at annexation. Regardless of Russia's claims, this remains Ukrainian territory and Ukraine has every right to continue to fight for their full sovereignty. For more, I'm joined by Andrew Weiss. He's the vice president for studies at the Carnegie endowment for international peace. Welcome. Great to be here. So what does Russia's annexation of these four occupied Ukrainian territories? What does it mean for the future of Russia's war? It's a really important moment. The Russian government has been on the defensive since the Ukrainians launched their counter offensive at the end of August. And now the referenda and annexation moves today are basically Vladimir Putin's attempt to flip the script. He's trying to escalate the conflict, and he's trying to tell the Russian people he's at war with the west, not Ukraine, and that everything he's doing is somehow defensive. It's an upside down set of logic, but it really does potentially change facts on the ground. It potentially makes this conflict more dangerous, militarily, and it really digs him in. It sort of backs him into a corner. So another escalation, a broadening of what this war means. So at this point, with these land grabs, in the midst of active conflict, is there a path at all for diplomacy to get to a place of peace? This is a way too early to imagine any kind of diplomatic process that's meaningful. The Russians have never engaged in good faith and any diplomatic efforts since this war began in 2014. And now by basically saying this is all part of mother Russia. They're doing two things. One, they're trying to scare the west and western publics in western governments that things could get out of hand because now any attack in these parts of Ukraine are somehow tantamount to an attack on mother Russia. And the other thing they're doing is basically saying no Russian lands could ever be given away. So, you know, Russia is not in the business of carving itself up and handing out presents. So Vladimir Putin is basically sat here. I'm locking in. I'm not going to change what I'm doing. So as you said, Putin has dug in and you say he's sort of backed up to a wall without any way to back out of this. And the west is saying, well, this is illegal. But that hasn't been a deterrent for Putin is there a deterrent that will work at this point. So I think the real deterrent is watching the determination of the people of Ukraine and their military as they defend themselves against this unprovoked invasion. The danger for everyone is that this conflict goes on. And that there is no sort of decisive moment where you are Putin acknowledges all his loss. This has been a horrible blunder of epic proportions, and he has to basically look for some kind of way out to kind of sneak out the back door and hope we don't we don't hold it against him. I think that's very improbable at this point. The real question is, how much can either side endure? We're basically now in a pain contest between Ukraine on the one hand with its western partners in Russia on the other. What about domestic pressure? I mean, this annexation comes after Putin gave this order to mobilize and other 300,000 troops to fight in Ukraine, but a lot of people were running away from that draft. And there has been domestic criticism, and even admitted unusually to mistakes in implementing of that order saying some wrong people had been drafted. Is there domestic pressure that could change the course of this war? So there's no doubt that the deeper Putin is going all in on the war by mobilizing Russian society for the past 7 and a half months. He's basically allowed the Russian public to live their lives and act as if nothing has changed, that there's not a big war going on. That's all different now. And everyone in the country is worried about their husbands, their sons, their brothers, being summoned to go fight in this war. The real danger, of course, is that the Russian people are not going to solve our problem. We're in a contest with Putin. And the government is not running for reelection anytime soon. Andrew Weiss vice president for studies at the Carnegie endowment for international peace. Thank you for your time. Great to be here. Thank you. Hurricane Ian is not done yet. After devastating parts of Florida, it is on track to hit South Carolina today. Although it's far weaker than the storm that came ashore near Fort Myers Wednesday. Yesterday, communities from Naples to St. Petersburg started to figure out just how much damage has been done. Insurance claims by homeowners and businesses are expected to be as high as 40 to $50 billion. And pierce Greg Allen visited some of the hardest hit areas yesterday and joins us to talk about it. Hey, Greg. Good morning, Rachel. Where is the damage the worst? Well, Lee and Charlie counties are the areas that were hit hardest by the storm. Florida governor Ron DeSantis was there to survey the damage yesterday. He called it indescribable. To see a house

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