Mike Rogers: Putin Not Looking For a Way Out

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Sunday, 30 Mar 2014 12:31 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Russia President Vladimir Putin is "absolutely not looking for a way out" of recent tension over Ukraine and his nation's annexation of Crimea, despite phone calls and other overtures made to President Barack Obama, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers.

The Michigan Republican lawmaker told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that he is concerned about Russian troop activities not only near Ukraine's eastern border, but also near Georgia.

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In addition to amassing "tens of thousands" of troops near the Ukrainian border, Russia has moved advanced equipment into South Ossetia, located near the border of Georgia and Russia.

The Georgian troops are not posing difficulty for Russia, Rogers said, and he thinks the action is because Putin is looking for a way to find his land bridge from Crimea to Transnistria along the northern Baltic Sea area. That is right along the Moldova and Ukraine border.

Rogers said Putin is also engaged in a "covert operation" and sending intelligence officers and special forces into eastern Ukraine to try convincing its citizens to support Russian annexation like Crimea did earlier this month.

The troops amassing on Ukraine's eastern border give him pause, however.

"It's not just the number of troops, it's the kinds of troops and the configuration," said Rogers. "They have everything they need, I believe, on the Eastern border to go into Ukraine: special forces, light infantry, heavy armor infantry."

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