Russian President Vladimir Putin is pouncing on Ukraine and threatening all-out war against a country he wants to repossess because he sees no real obstacle in his American counterpart, President Barack Obama, Oklahoma's newly chosen 5th District GOP nominee for Congress told Newsmax TV
But retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell, who won his primary on Tuesday in a solidly Republican district, also told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that two European leaders just offered hope the West will finally come together to force Russia to back down.
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British Prime Minister David Cameron blasted Russia on Thursday for sending 1,000 troops and dozens of tanks across a Ukraine border post, and warned of "further consequences" if the assault continues, London's Daily Express
German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the lead on Thursday in announcing the European Union will consider even tougher economic sanctions on Russia, The Wall Street Journal
All the United States has to do now, said Iraq war veteran Russell, is step up to lead that international coalition and back it up with the implied threat of a military response by NATO countries.
He said Putin, in the final analysis, doesn't really want war; he just wants as much of Ukraine and other former Soviet satellites as he can grab through bullying, proxy forces, and limited Russian military incursions that the rest of the world won't stop.
"Collectively, Russia does not want a war," he said, adding, "Economically, this would be a disaster for them."
But because "they see the weakness, they see the inaction" in Obama's passive foreign policy, said Russell, they continue to arm Ukraine's pro-Russia separatists and, as NATO reported,
back the rebels with growing numbers of Russian troops.
And they may not stop with Ukraine.
"They would like to get all of the restored territory that they had from Soviet times," said Russell, "and Lithuania and Latvia, they put out statements today of grave concern because you have this wedge of [neighboring] Russian territory there with Kaliningrad.
"In the Baltic Sea, [Russia] may want to connect the dots," said Russell.
Because Russia has shown it doesn't have to declare war to violate its neighbors, "If we show weakness now, then it will turn into bloodshed in the future at a much, much higher cost," he said.
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