What’s Russia’s Next Move? Seeing Inside Putin’s Head

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond (right). (Putin: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images, Hammond: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond (right). (Putin: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images, Hammond: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

World leaders have no clue what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s next move is following Moscow’s invasion and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Putin has massed more than 20,000 troops on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu told US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week that Moscow had no plans to send the troops into Ukraine, but there are those that are wary.

British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was asked Wednesday morning during a meeting with small group of American journalists at the British Embassy in Washington what he thought was Putin’s next move. His response:

“If I could see into Mr. Putin’s brain, no doubt they’d have me in a little gilded cage in the Pentagon or White House.”

He continued:

“I don’t think any of us know and I’d be prepared to bet that few if anybody in Russia really knows what Putin’s next move is. He appears to be playing this very much as personally managed agenda. He is running this very directly using presidential power. I don’t think we know, we perhaps never will know, whether what has happened so far was a pre-planned strategy or whether it’s been a series of reactions to emerging events.”

Marcus Weisgerber
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Marcus Weisgerber

Senior Pentagon Correspondent at Defense News
I write about broad-ranging policy, acquisition and budget issues affecting the US military.
Marcus Weisgerber
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