The advance of Russian troops further into Ukraine showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was "playing for the whole thing," former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Tuesday.
"He wants a government in Kiev that will be subservient to Russian interests," Bolton told Fox News' "America's Newsroom," referring to Ukraine's capital.
Russian forces advanced beyond Crimea into a Ukrainian province to the north, Fox News
reported Tuesday. Bolton said he thought it was part of the Russian president's plan to "partition the country."
Putin's style of negotiation, Bolton said, was to "put [his] foot on Ukraine's neck and then say, 'Let's talk.'" He maintained the Russian president was "determined to re-establish Russian hegemony in the space of the former Soviet Union," and considered Ukraine to be the "big prize."
"He's going to push until he sees push back," Bolton said. "And right now he's not seeing anything. If he prevails [in Ukraine], all of the other former republics are in jeopardy, I would say, including NATO members Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania."
Telephone conversations between President Barack Obama and Putin showed distinct differences in how each leader viewed the events in Ukraine, Bolton said.
"You can talk about international law all you want, which apparently has been a major subject in President Obama's three conversations with Vladimir Putin. And all that tells Putin is that Obama is on a different planet. This is a question of force. And Putin is winning," he said.
What would get Putin's attention? The United States pushing for Ukraine to become a member of NATO, Bolton suggested. He said Putin viewed proposed economic sanctions against Russia as "pinpricks."
"This is about power and security," he said. "And until we show Putin that we are prepared to bring Ukraine fully within the Western common security alliance, I don't think he's going to pay the slightest bit of attention."
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