Tags: Russia | Ukraine | russia | putin | sactions

State Dept.'s Nuland to Newsmax: Sanctions Reined Putin In

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Sunday, 21 December 2014 10:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Without the tough sanctions the U.S. and its allies placed on Russia last year and the faltering Russian economy, Vladimir Putin might well have waged a more aggressive policy toward Ukraine and other neighbors, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland tells Newsmax.

The State Department's point person on Europe, Nuland is fluent in Russian and has made nine trips to Ukraine in the past year.

She spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the first anniversary of the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Victor Yanokovich.

"With regard to the effect of sanctions," Nuland told Newsmax. "You know, the market information we're seeing from Russia today is a clear indication that the isolation the Kremlin has wrought, the pressure that the U.S, and Europe and others have brought to bear on the Russian economy is having an effect."

As to how differently Putin would have behaved without sanctions and with a better economy, she said: "I personally believe that there might have been even more aggressive action in Ukraine had we not had a steadily escalating set of measures together, had the U.S. and Europe not been completely unified, along with Australia, Japan, and other friends in our approach.

"There were even worse opportunities than what we saw over the course of the year."
Her remarks came weeks after Lithuania announced it was sending military aid to Ukraine and its President Dalia Grybauskaite denounced Russia as a "terrorist country."

The Putin regime has hit back with sanctions on the Lithuanian transport and dairy industry. In addition, Russia has held surprise military exercises in neighboring Kalingrad with 9000 troops and 55 ships.

Beyond that, however, Russia has taken no aggressive action against Lithuania.

Regarding Russia itself, Nuland said "[N]ow, we have a really toxic cocktail, with the effect of sanctions, with low oil prices, with the impact finally being felt inside Russia of the economic mismanagement of the last ten to fifteen years where the economy is so heavily hydrocarbon dependent."

Nuland stopped short of suggesting the Russian people would rise up and protest Putin's foreign policy.

"It is a point of decision-making, I think, for the Russian leadership but also for the Russian people, whether this aggressive policy vis a vis neighbors is worth it and whether this choice to prioritize imperial ambitions over the needs of own citizens, over their own well-being, is really in the interests of the Russian Federation."

Newsmax also asked Nuland about a controversial series of articles in Foreign Affairs examining the extent to which the West was responsible for the Ukraine crisis.

Russian foreign policy expert Alexander Lukin, for example, wrote in Foreign Affairs that successive U.S. Presidents were "forgetting the promises made by Western leaders to [Soviet President] Mikhail Gorbachev after the unification of Germany—most notably that they would not expand NATO eastward."

"There were no promises made to Russia that it would have a veto at any point by any American or European leader I'm aware of over any other sovereign country's choice of alliance," she replied, "That's just not the way we do business. And anyone who tells you otherwise just doesn't know the situation."



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John-Gizzi
Without the tough sanctions the U.S. and its allies placed on Russia last year and the faltering Russian economy, Vladimir Putin might well have waged a more aggressive policy toward Ukraine and other neighbors, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland tells...
russia, putin, sactions
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2014-10-21
Sunday, 21 December 2014 10:10 PM
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