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Russian president Vladimir Putin. Picture: KREMLIN via REUTERS/ALEKSEY DRUZHININ
Russian president Vladimir Putin. Picture: KREMLIN via REUTERS/ALEKSEY DRUZHININ

Eight days ago, with bombardments of artillery, heavy equipment and small arms, Russian troops launched attacks from Ukraine’s northern border with Belarus, across its eastern frontier with Russia, and in the south from Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Russia invaded and annexed in 2014.

Vladimir Putin’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, what could be the largest conflict in Europe since World
War 2, has sent oil prices soaring, crashed the Russian stock market and tanked the rouble. On Wednesday night we saw an overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine: 141 in favour; five against; 35 abstaining. SA, on embarrassingly flimsy diplomatic grounds, is among those that abstained. And one overriding question remains speculated about more than most: what is Putin’s end game here in a war he seemingly cannot win?

Michael Avery is joined by Brooks Spector, who settled in Johannesburg after a career as a US diplomat in Africa; Raphael De Kadt​, professor of political science at St Augustine College of SA and East Asia; and Peter Little, fund manager at Anchor Capital

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