World: Words won't stop Putin's aggression, experts warn - PressFrom - US
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WorldWords won't stop Putin's aggression, experts warn

15:55  10 january  2019
15:55  10 january  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

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Ukraine believes Putin is trying to blockade its ports and transform the Azov into a de facto Russian lake. John Herbst, who served as ambassador to Ukraine National security adviser John Bolton said last month that Trump and Putin won ' t meet again while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and sailors.

Initially, I translated only a small portion of this segment as I felt the key message must be made obvious. However, I have been pleasantly surprised with

Words won't stop Putin's aggression, experts warn© Pavel Rebrov The seized Ukrainian ships anchored at a port in Crimea on Nov. 26.

When Russian ships attacked and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in November, the incident unleashed a flurry of international condemnation, but spurred little real-world support for the would-be NATO and E.U. member.

More than a month later, 24 Ukrainian sailors are still in Russian custody, and tensions between the neighbors remain high.

Former U.S. diplomats and experts say Washington should be doing more to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also annexed of Crimea in 2014 and is backing rebels in a conflict in eastern Ukraine that's claimed 10,000 lives.

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Putin ’ s two-hour address was in two distinct parts. The first was electoral bread and butter: a detailed blueprint for modernising Russia, with an emphasis on social policy and demographics, illustrated with graphs to show how far the country has come in the 18 years of Putin (and how far it still has to go).

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference after a meeting with his Moldovan counterpart Security experts who follow the West’ s responses to Russia’ s meddling in its internal Despite almost every Western intelligence agency urgently warning about the Russian threat, only a

President Donald Trump canceled a meeting with Putin at the G-20 summit in Argentina and the State Department announced $10 million in military financing for Ukraine to bolster its navy. An American warship is also being sent to the Black Sea as part of what the Navy described as "routine operations."

Words won't stop Putin's aggression, experts warn© Mikhail Klimentyev Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a recording of his annual televised New Year's message in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Jan. 31, 2018.

Those measures fell short of what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was hoping for — American and other NATO members' ships sailing through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine believes Putin is trying to blockade its ports and transform the Azov into a de facto Russian lake.

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On March 1, Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly, devoting a significant part of his speech to a presentation of Russia’ s latest weapons, including nuclear missiles, and calling on NATO to cease its eastward expansion. “Nobody listened to us before.

Vladimir Putin believes the West lacks the will to defend its principles, warns think-tank ( Getty Images ). Nato and the European Union “could collapse” in the face of increasing aggression from Russia, which has been emboldened by the EU’ s apparent unwillingness to “defend its principles”

John Herbst, who served as ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, said words would do little to stop Putin.

"The Kremlin is not going to be dissuaded by condemnation," said Herbst, who is now the director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based foreign policy think tank. "They will be dissuaded by pain. Pain that comes from sanctions and the pain that may come from providing weapons to Ukraine."

Herbst said providing Kiev with anti-ship missiles and patrol ships would give Ukraine "a partial asymmetric advantage in defending itself in the Sea of Azov."

The U.S. sold $47 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in 2018 to help build its long-term defense capacity — something Herbst says many observers feared would exacerbate tensions with Moscow.

However, that move was met with a "weak response" from the Kremlin, the former ambassador said.

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VLADIMIR Putin has called on his citizens to 'fight until the end' as tensions between Russia and the West continue to escalate. He said the bombings had been sparked by unnecessary invasions by other UN countries and that he would' t stop aggression until Europe and the US do the same.

Putin did not abandon its goals in the Donbass."School of the armistice" in Donbass and never will be, because the President of Russia Vladimir Putin is. The expert noted that he had no hopes that “school truce” in the Donbas will be performed: “at least because Putin has not abandoned their goals.

"You can never rule out a major escalation, but I think the price for Putin of doing that is pretty high," Herbst added.

Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House, a London think tank, said fears of Russian retaliation, not just in Ukraine but potentially against the U.S. as well, would be an important consideration in any U.S. response to the naval clash.

Michael McFaul, a U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama who is now a NBC News and MSNBC contributor, says he was surprised by the Trump administration's muted response to what he described as “an illegal detention” of the Ukrainian sailors.

Words won't stop Putin's aggression, experts warn© Pavel Rebrov Image: A member of Russia's FSB security service escorts a detained Ukrainian navy sailor on Nov. 27

“Putin has kidnapped two dozen innocent Ukrainian sailors in international waters,” McFaul said. “That is an outrageous act that demands a public response from President Trump himself.”

Ukraine maintains the crew members should be treated as “prisoners of war” and is demanding their release. But Russian authorities say they are "trespassers" who ventured across Russia's territorial border.

“What I worry most of all is that the world has simply moved on, and forgotten about these Ukrainian sailors,” McFaul added.

National security adviser John Bolton said last month that Trump and Putin won't meet again while Russia still holds Ukrainian ships and sailors.

Balazs Jarabik, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Ukraine's presidential election that's scheduled for March will likely play a role in any Russian response.

"As far as I see it, Russia is not interested in further escalation until the election as that may help incumbent Poroshenko," Jarabik said, adding that the Ukrainian president is also not interested in another naval clash in the Kerch Strait.

The State Department did not provide a comment when contacted by NBC News, citing the partial government shutdown.

Vladimir Putin gets lavish welcome on visit to ally Serbia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Serbia in a show of support for the Balkan country's populist leader and his pro-Moscow policies. Putin landed at Belgrade airport on Thursday after his presidential plane was escorted over the Serbian airspace by MiG-29 fighter jets he recently donated to Serbia. Church bells tolled, guns saluted and supporters waved Russian and Serbian flags on his route through the Serbian capital. Serbia has maintained close links with traditional Slavic ally Russia despite formally seeking European Union membership.

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