December 3, 2023

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Ukraine war LIVE: Vladimir Putin blindsided by Israel attack with no idea what to do next

Vladimir Putin has been ‘caught off guard’ by the terrorist attack on Israel and has been ‘near-paralysed’ in his response to the conflict, an expert claims.

Writing in the Spectator historian and Russia security expert Mark Galeotti said “for all his macho public persona, Putin does not take tough decisions easily or quickly”.

Since the lightning Hamas invasion and atrocities on Saturday, Moscow has been slow to react with the Kremlin only issuing a response two days later.

On Monday, Putin’s mouthpiece Dmitry Peskov said the country was “extremely concerned” at the risk of further escalation.

However, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said “Russia is interested in igniting a war in the Middle East” so a new source of conflict and pain “will weaken world unity”.

But Mr Galeotti said despite Russians and Russian-Israelis having been murdered by Hamas, Putin’s Russia has issued “no condemnation of the horrific outrages”.

He added that if Putin “backs Israel, he angers Iran” potentially jeopardising arms supplies from the pariah state. Mr Galeotti concluded: “For so long, Putin has tried to have his cake and eat it. Now, he seems to be choking on it.”

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