Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be able to control Ukraine, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster asserted Sunday.
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” McMaster said the next 72 hours “are going to be really important.”
“Russia's initial aims have been frustrated that the military problem gets harder and harder for them as they extend their lines of communication supply lines,” he explained.
“If you look at the numbers of forces, you know, it looks like a lot 160,000. … about one third of that is combat troops,” he said. “Now you divide it across four different axes. It's pretty easy for that force to become dissipated and become absorbed into the vast territory of Ukraine, a country of 40 million people that occupies a space of Texas.”
“So I think that this is an impossible military problem for [Putin] if his aim is to not only remove [Ukraine president Volodymyr] Zelenskyy from power, but then to control Ukraine. He won't be able to control Ukraine.”
According to McMaster, Putin currently doesn’t look so powerful on the world stage.
“I don't think he's a rational actor because he's fearful,” McMaster said.
“What he wants to do more than anything is restore Russia to national greatness. He's driven by that. He's also driven by a desire to remain in power to at least 2036,” McMaster said. “And so I think now he knows that all of that is at risk. … the Russian military, doesn't look very good right now. He doesn't look very powerful. And this is going to jeopardize his ability to stay in power.”
“These totalitarian leaders, they can look strong, but they're actually very brittle,” McMaster asserted. “And democracy as we've been, self-flagellation for several years. I mean, as ugly as democracy is, democracies are actually pretty darn resilient. And you see that with Ukrainians. And I hope the Ukrainians inspire confidence in all of us across the free world.”
McMaster also thinks there is a military option for the United States in Ukraine.
“I think there's probably a military option there to tell the Russians, 'Hey, you don't own the Black Sea’,” he said. “And then also, I think, to open up commercial traffic again, to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Ukraine, as well as to keep open the land routes coming out of Poland, Moldova and Romania. To resupply, I think, the Ukrainians with weapons. And I think that's very important as well. “
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