Vladimir Putin is under growing pressure. His “special military operation” has not gone according to plan. As a result of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russia has been losing territory it had occupied.
Meanwhile, Russian regions bordering Ukraine have been coming under sustained shelling.
What’s more, the Kremlin’s announcement last month of “partial mobilisation” sparked widespread alarm in Russian society.
President Putin’s response? It’s not, “Sorry, I made a huge mistake by invading Ukraine.” It is tighter security. Not just in occupied Ukraine, but across Russia.
With a Kremlin decree, Vladimir Putin has imposed martial law in the four Ukrainian regions he claims to have annexed: Luhank, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.
It’s not clear what difference, if any, that will make there: it certainly won’t persuade Ukrainian troops to lay down their weapons. Kyiv is determined to win back lost territory.
But the Kremlin leader has also tightened security across Russia, with the introduction of three different security levels.