Vitalii Portnikov

Putin: Winner of the Gaza War

One of the analysts from the French publication Le Monde dubbed Vladimir Putin the “primary victor in the Gaza War.” Perhaps for some, this characterization may seem like a significant exaggeration. However, as early as the spring of 2022, in one of my articles in Israeli media, I asserted that if Russia’s war against Ukraine does not cease with the restoration of the world order and international law, the next theater of operations would be Israel.

Politicians and observers, both in Israel and the West, did not agree with such framing of the issue. They viewed Ukraine and the Middle East as two separate theaters of operations.

They —but not Putin! Because for the Russian president, chaos and instability across the civilized world are paramount. In fact, the war in Ukraine is not the beginning of this process. The beginning can be seen in Russia’s war against Georgia in 2008. However, the real globalization of the conflict between Russia and the West occurred in Syria. It was in Syria that Vladimir Putin realized that chaos and instability would restore Russia’s role as a significant international player, practically lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And it was in Syria that military cooperation between Russia and Iran was ultimately established. In 2013, in Ukraine, we witnessed the effectiveness of this cooperation when we saw Iranian-manufactured drones flying over our heads. And in 2024, Israel will also witness the existence of this cooperation. Many will argue that Ukraine has become an important testing ground for Israel’s weapons.

Thus, Putin is playing on multiple fronts simultaneously and achieving results. Israel does not want to provide military assistance to Ukraine to avoid an open conflict with Russia and to maintain the ability to strike Syria. Ukraine is afraid of spoiling relations with the “global south” and supporting Israel in the UN, and the Ukrainian president is not rushing to make a solidarity visit to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, both countries did not receive American assistance for several months and did not make any attempts to join forces to achieve a common result in Congress. And this is despite Ukraine and Israel having different interest groups among congressmen. How could they miss such an opportunity?

Putin has already reaped tangible results from this delay on the Ukrainian front. But let’s not forget about the intensive contacts between the Kremlin and Hamas. I am afraid that unpleasant surprises may await us in this direction as well. Because to prevent Putin from winning, we need to at least try to unite.

About the Author
Vitalii Portnikov is a Ukrainian publicist, writer, TV presenter and member of the Ukrainian PEN. He is also an author and renowned journalist working in democratic media in Central and Eastern Europe for more than three decades. He is the author of hundreds of analytical articles in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Russian, Israeli, Baltic media. He hosts television programs and his own analytical channels on YouTube. He is currently broadcasting at the office of the Espreso TV channel and continues to cooperate with the Ukrainian and Russian services of Radio Liberty.
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