The positioning of Russian forces and Vladimir Putin's long-held desires to return Ukraine to Russian control are "concerning," and now the capital of Kyiv could be a new goal, according to Rick Gates on Newsmax.
"Based on what we're seeing right now, the number of troops that he's moving in, particularly from the north, that's the most concerning," Gates told Wednesday's "Rob Schmitt Tonight." "I think he could go a little further into the west."
Gates spent 10 years in Ukraine, involved in the country's political system, including being in country when Putin annexed Crimea.
"A number of the people were very fearful that Putin was going to come in, not only take Crimea but also other areas, and there was that attempt to take that whole eastern part of Ukraine at that time," Gates told host Rob Schmitt. "He wasn't successful then.
"Putin is very deliberate. He's very methodical, and he certainly very patient. This is long time in the making by Putin. He obviously had the patience to wait, and now he's seeing the fruits of that patience."
Gates told host Rob Schmitt, the land Putin will ultimately invade likely does not extend beyond Kyiv.
"Putin was never going to go past Kyiv," Gates said. "When you talk about the way the country is divided, the west obviously is heavily Ukrainian nationalists. They're going to put up the most resistance. They're going to be the toughest ones to try to bring under Russian control."
The western portions of the country are far more nationalist hard-liners and more inclined to dig in and engage Russia in a bloody battle for independence, according to Gates.
"The eastern part, obviously their culture, their people, they're very much tied to Russia, the former U.S.S.R," Gates said. "So they were in a position to kind of just roll over, and that's exactly kind of what you're seeing, which is why Putin is coming from the north and the east."
Putin is likely to stick to invading areas easier to keep under Russian control, Gates continued.
"I don't think he's going to go much further than Kyiv, because again, I don't think Putin wants this to be a long drawn-out affair," Gates said. "I think he wants to try to get as much under his control, as quickly as possible, and then face some of the consequences, endured the sanctions, just like he did in 2014.
"And then Germany will probably be one of the first countries to kick back in and forgive them and turn on that pipeline back on," Gates concluded, referring to the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline that Ric Grenell is convinced embolden this latest Putin invasion.
Myriad analysts have told Newsmax that Putin has designs to build a "land bridge" from Russia, through the fertile, untapped energy lands of Donbass region, to the annexed Crimea region – helping fuel Russia's lucrative energy empire.
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