Career analysts believed the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan played into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculus as he weighed invading Ukraine, according to a report published by The Washington Post.
The report, published Tuesday and part of an in-depth series into the buildup of Russia’s war on Ukraine, includes details from over three dozen U.S. and foreign officials, according to The Post. At one point prior to the invasion, analysts reportedly became convinced that Putin viewed time as of the essence if he were to execute his idea.
Putin, in mulling over his invasion idea, reportedly believed that while the West would respond with strong outrage, “actual punishment” would be limited, according to The Post. The Biden Administration’s then-recent debacle in Afghanistan, which was widely viewed as disastrous, also came to Putin’s mind, analysts reportedly determined.
“The Russian leader, they [analysts] said, believed that the Biden administration was chastened by the humiliating U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and wanted to avoid new wars,” The Post reported. “The United States and Europe were still struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto European leader, was leaving office and handing power to an untested successor. French President Emmanuel Macron was facing a reelection battle against a resurgent right wing, and Britain was suffering from a post-Brexit economic downturn.”