Who will stop Putin? 5 possible adversaries – from Boris Johnson to his own people

Ukraine: LBC commentator on possibility of nuclear conflict

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The Ukrainian people have come together to fight Russian forces as they advance in their invasion of Ukraine. As the President of Ukraine appealed for international aid, the West has united in condemning the actions of Vladimir Putin and imposing economic sanctions on Russia. Which world leaders are standing up to Mr Putin, and stand a chance at defeating the Russian president?

Volodymyr Zelensky

‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ has become something of a cliche, but it sums up the rise of President Zelensky, the comedian-turned-statesman leading Ukraine.

President Zelensky was elected as President less than three years ago, winning 73 percent of the vote on a ticket promising to fight corruption and build up Ukraine’s standing on the international stage.

Over the last week, however, Mr Zelensky inspired hope and defiance as he refused to hide and instead fought for Ukraine alongside his citizens, refusing the US offer of evacuation with the line “we need ammunition, not a ride.”

Mr Zelensky has stood up to Putin like David against Goliath, but he will need allies in order to keep staving off Russian forces.

Mr Zelensky’s is a savvy social media user, utilising Twitter and other platforms to share videos and messages with the Ukrainian people and the international community.

Constantly showing his face, addressing his country and the world, as well as meeting journalists from his bunker, Mr Zelensky seems to be using his personal PR as a tactic to gain worldwide support for Ukrainian resistance.

If Mr Zelensky is to fight off Putin, he is well aware he can’t do it alone, and has appealed to leaders around the world to help Ukraine, as well as expediting Ukraine’s application to join the EU.

Joe Biden

The US and Russia have a history of tense relations stretching back to the Cold War, and President Joe Biden chose to use his State of the Union address to deliver a strong message to Mr Putin.

In his hour-long speech, Mr Biden vowed action against Russian oligarchs in the US and closing American airspace to Russian flights.

Referring to Putin as a “dictator”, Mr Biden said: “When dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos. They keep moving. The cost to America and the world keeps rising.”

Presiding over the only military force larger than Russia’s, Mr Biden has not indicated the US intends to have any military involvement in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

However, if Russia threatened any NATO countries – such as one of the five NATO countries bordering Ukraine: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania – the US would be forced to respond by Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty – under which the full resources of the US could be used to protect a single nation.

This article was last invoked after the 9/11 attacks, when NATO allies joined in the Afghanistan invasion.

Boris Johnson

The UK Government has so far pledged £220 million to help Ukraine with humanitarian aid.

The UK has imposed sanctions on Russia including on Mr Putin himself, and Boris Johnson has vowed to crack down on what he called “dirty money” from Russians in London.

However, Mr Johnson has displayed reticence when it comes to military action.

Britain has deployed more troops to Ukraine, but the British Prime Minister emphasised Britain would not fight Russian forces.

During a visit to Estonia yesterday, Mr Johnson stated: “I want to be crystal clear finally, on that point, we will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine and our reinforcements like these reinforcements here in Tapa are firmly within the borders of NATO members and they are profoundly the right thing to do.”

Previously speaking in Poland, Mr Johnson described Mr Putin’s actions as “barbaric” and said the Russian mission “must fail”.

This morning, President Zelesnky tweeted he had been in contact with Mr Johnson and expressed gratitude for Britain’s “continued significant assistance in combatting aggression”.

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Olaf Scholz

The German chancellor has attracted international attention by declaring it would ship arms to Ukraine and sharply increase their defence spending.

This dramatic move from Germany was seen as a historic turning point by many commentators, as Russia and Germany historically had close political and cultural ties, and such a display of military interest has not been seen in post-War Germany.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point, it threatens our entire post-war order.

“In this situation, it is our duty to do our utmost to support Ukraine in defending itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army. Germany stands closely by Ukraine’s side.”

Mr Scholz also paused the approval process on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

While Mr Scholz’s actions have been seen as a dramatic U-turn, Germany’s military spending has only been around 1.5 percent of their GDP before now, meaning their military strength lags behind other nations.

The Russian people

While much focus has been on the strength and unity of the West’s response to Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, questions are being raised about whether Mr Putin could be unseated by his own people.

Earlier this week, many Russians took to the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg to protest the war in Ukraine, despite strict anti-protest laws.

Estimates say more than 2,000 Russians were arrested following the anti-war protests.

The Russian ruble has fallen dramatically following sanctions, falling 30 percent against the dollar on Monday.

Mr Putin has encouraged the Ukrainian people to revolt against their government, but could he be so sure a coup won’t be launched against his 22-year reign in Russia?

The more Mr Putin behaves like a tyrannical king, the better he may be served by remembering the outcome of the last Russian Revolution.

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