Since Russian troops began seizing government buildings in Crimea four years ago, the international community has become accustomed to encountering new acts of Russian aggression on an almost daily basis. Whether it is masked men in eastern Ukraine, a chemical weapons attack in the English countryside, or an attempted coup in the Balkans, the process is more or less the same—facing any accusations, Kremlin denies everything and declares, “You can’t prove it was us.” This was stated in the Atlantic Council report on March 13.
If the evidence pointing toward Russia is particularly damning, Moscow then insists that those involved were non-state actors operating entirely independently of the government.
Vladimir Putin opted for this position, dismissing indictments against thirteen named Russians for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election by saying, “So what if they’re Russians? They do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”
This is how Putin’s Russia wages war, by attacking in a myriad of different directions while carefully maintaining a semblance of plausible deniability that leaves its victims partially paralyzed and unable to respond effectively to an enemy they cannot conclusively unmask.
One of the reasons Putin’s strategy of plausible deniability is so effective is because virtually nobody in the West seems to appreciate the scale of Russian hostility toward the post-Cold War world or the Kremlin’s readiness to resort to acts of aggression. They cannot comprehend why any rational nation would seek to dismantle the international security system, and remain trapped by the post-history delusion that Great Powers do not attack one another anymore.
This wishful thinking makes it difficult for many in the West to view Russia’s individual offenses as component parts of a single coordinated global campaign. Instead, the tendency is to treat each incident in isolation without connecting the dots and drawing the obvious conclusions.
This compartmentalization extends to the Kremlin war in Ukraine, with international sanctions for Russia’s military intervention remaining neatly divided into separate Crimean and Donbas elements. Above all, nobody wants to acknowledge the dire reality that a state of war—albeit hybrid war—already exists between Russia and the entire democratic world.
The only way to stop this hybrid war is to win it, the authors conclude.
"From Crimea to Salisbury, Putin is waging a hybrid war against the West. The sooner EU and US leaders collectively acknowledge this, the closer we will be to a solution," the message says.
As it was reported earlier Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said that Russia is likely to be involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer. She said that in the Parliament. According to her, Skripal was poisoned by a military neuroparalytic substance, made by Russia. She believes that it was either Russia’s direct action or Moscow lost grip of its chemical weapon.
May said, that Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, on March 12 called Russian ambassador for an explanation of how the substance appeared in Salisbury and was used against former Russian military intelligence officer. London expects Russia’s respond till the evening of March 13.