The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
We may be about to find out. Because it is becoming increasingly clear that the Kremlin is about to double down on its efforts to destabilize and dominate Ukraine.
In the past day alone, according to Ukrainian press reports, pro-Moscow separatists have launched no less than 27 attacks in the Donbas.
Additionally, Russia just increased its troop presence on Ukraine’s border, amassing three divisions of motorized rifle troops capable of conducting rapid offensive operations.
Last month, two Ukrainian military intelligence officers were assassinated.
And, of course, last week, the pro-Moscow separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko called for Ukraine to be replaced with a new state called Malorossia, with its capital in Donetsk.
Now, individually, all these things look like business as usual in a war that has dragged on for more than three years.
But when you connect these dots, they seem to point to a coordinated and multipronged campaign.
According to SBU chief Vasyl Hrytsak, in a meeting of top Russian officials in May, Vladimir Putin criticized efforts to destabilize Ukraine and ordered “a reset of the ruling regime” in Kyiv.
And now that reset appears to be under way.
After three years of war, after three years of Ukrainian society becoming increasingly and irreversibly pro-Western and surprisingly resilient, Russia is still not ready to give up its efforts to dominate a country that simply does not want to be dominated.
Unstoppable force, meet immovable object.