Russian President Vladimir Putin has "brilliantly" pushed a military strategy in Ukraine that has trumped the objections of the United States and Europe, says retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters.
"Eastern Ukraine is gone, it's lost. Putin's slow-roll invasion [is] using special operations forces with the threat of tanks still looming on the border," Peters told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"He's now president in at least 11 eastern Ukrainian cities — seizing police stations, administrative buildings, mayors' offices, airfields.
"The Ukrainians can't do anything meaningful about it because Putin has set this up so brilliantly," Peters said Wednesday.
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Peters, a strategic analyst for Fox News, explained that if Ukrainians use force, the Russians have an excuse to move in with tanks to defend ethnic Russians threatened by Ukrainian fascists.
If Ukrainians don't use force, he added, then "the Russians' special operators, their local thug allies, continue to grab more facilities, more territory,'' he said.
"So, there's no way Europe or the United States will show the resolve to get Putin's thugs out of east Ukraine. Sad to say, I hate to say this, but the only question now is how long and messy the end game is going to be."
Peters, author of the bestselling book "Hell or Richmond,"
published by Forge Books, said the United States is doing nothing to help Ukraine.
"Our president, after saying we stand with the people of Ukraine ... won't even send them defensive gear like body armor," Peters said.
"What do we send Ukraine for all of this rhetoric? We send Ukrainians a couple of hundred thousand meals ready to eat and military rations.
"[And] those conversations between Putin and Obama? ... Here's how they go: President Obama says, 'Please, please don't beat me up,' and Putin says, 'Well, maybe I beat you up, maybe I don't beat you up, be nice, be nice ... and Obama says, well, let's keep talking."
Peters says Putin's end game is to keep rebuilding and expanding the Russian empire as far out as he can.
"Not the Soviet empire — he's not a communist despite his KGB background. He's a great Russian nationalist," he said.
"This is long-planned, beautifully managed, and he retains the initiative. We keep reacting or failing to react, and again, eastern Ukraine is gone and all our words meant nothing, and what's going to happen to Putin for stealing eastern Ukraine on top of Crimea? Nothing."
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