Ric Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence, told Newsmax on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ''smelling weakness'' from the U.S. and President Joe Biden regarding the situation in Ukraine.
''It's really a problem because Putin is seeing weakness. He's smelling weakness,'' Grenell, a Newsmax contributor, said Monday on ''John Bachman Now.'' ''He did the same thing when President [Barack] Obama and [then] Vice President Biden were in charge. Remember, he grabbed Crimea, rewrote the European borders, and now we're seeing Putin come back again and be on the border in Ukraine.''
According to U.S. intelligence satellite images, it is believed the Russians may have up to 175,000 troops amassing at the border of Crimea and Ukraine since the beginning of the month, which could signal plans of a military invasion, according to a Dec. 3 article in The Washington Post.
NPR reported Saturday that about 10,000 troops were pulled off the border and redeployed to their ''permanent'' points, but the news organization said it could not confirm the report.
"In the troops of the Southern Military District, the stage of combat coordination of squads, crews and crews in motorized rifle formations, military units of combat arms and special forces has come to an end," the statement from the military said in the NPR report.
A Dec. 23 BBC story said that the Russians denied that the military moves were in preparation for an invasion.
Russian armed forces chief Valery Gerasimov said that "information circulating in the media about the alleged impending Russian invasion of Ukraine is a lie,'' according to the report.
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, and Putin has said that he would protect Russian interests in the region, but it remains unclear what the recent buildup is leading to.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a recent call with U.S. Senators to express his concerns about the Russian troops.
"Now, more than ever, it is not words that matter, but decisive actions," Zelensky said in a statement. "My goal is to stop the bloodshed in the east of Ukraine. It's impossible to imagine security in Europe without ending the war in Donbas."
Grenell said that the Russians did not test the administration of President Donald Trump this way.
''We know that the United States military can give a very good, credible threat of military action if they have a leader like Donald Trump,'' Grenell said. ''If they have a leader who's willing to actually use the military in a in a way that instills fear into our opponents, and our enemies.''
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