The sanctions the United States imposed on Russia to stave off aggression into Ukraine were no more effective than if the White House had done nothing, claimed John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"The sanctions that were imposed after the Russian takeover of the Crimea are trivial," Bolton told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday. "They are almost the equivalent of doing nothing, because [Russian President Vladimir] Putin sees this as weakness, both on the part of the United States and Europe."
Economic sanctions have had "no impact" on Putin's decision-making, Bolton said. The Russian president's spokesman said reports were incorrect that Russian troops along Ukraine's border had moved into the eastern part of the country, according to Reuters.
As tensions escalated in eastern Ukraine, CNN
reported that pro-Russian gunmen had seized police and government buildings in several cities.
Bolton said Putin is in a "win-win situation at this point," explaining that the Russian president views warnings of further costs from President Barack Obama as rhetoric.
"All he hears from Obama is, 'If you do it the next time, the sanctions will increase.' I think Putin calculates that it's all hot air, and that if he measures how he approaches this, he's going to get what he wants," he said.
Bolton said that neither the White House nor the Europeans were prepared to take "really strong, really effective, meaningful, financial sanctions against the Russian government."
Putin "has seen the rhetoric. He's heard the president talk the talk. But there isn't any walking the walk that follows," Bolton said.
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