Despite world outrage over Russia's purported involvement in last week's downing of a Malaysian airliner with nearly 300 passengers near Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is ramping up support to pro-Russian separatists, former NSA and CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, tells Newsmax TV
"They continue to double down with direct support and delivering of arms and increasing the heavier arms to the Ukrainians," Hayden said on "America's Forum."
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Putin is making a mistake, Hayden said, predicting that the Russian leader will "lose control over the surrogates he continues to arm."
Russia's state-controlled media is pushing "bizarre" propaganda narratives about the incident, according to Time magazine
, such as the plane being shot down by the Ukrainian military in a failed assassination attempt on Putin; the plane was filled with dead bodies; and the U.S. or NATO orchestrated the crash.
Hayden said the theories are "so absurd that only a radical fringe would begin to digest it."
Russia is blatantly and brashly returning the world to a Cold War, according to Hayden.
"The Russians have made a conscious decision to use their own forces to overturn the post-Cold War security architecture in Europe. That's an incredibly big deal."
The downing of the Malaysian airliner further underscores what intelligence officials already knew: that Russia is providing support to rogue pro-Russian separatists.
"We know about the delivery of other heavy equipment to Ukrainian separatists," he said. "So the west, the United States, our European allies, they've got to look at this in the geopolitical and strategic context not just in the criminal context."
In order to help the world — especially Europe, which has been reluctant to act — connect the dots to Russia's involvement, Hayden supports the release of intelligence data.
"We've got the data, I don't think it would put a great deal at risk if we put a significant fraction of that data out there just to prove the point," he said. "I don't think the Russian narrative gains less traction. What we need to do is to place force the Europeans to face the raw reality of the situation. You're right, they're going to be an anchor on our ship and … we do seem to be gathering some momentum. It'll be the Europeans trying to slow us down and we need to push them hard."
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