Outgoing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday delivered a blistering denouncement of Vladimir Putin over the Kremlin's efforts to "undermine our values, our institutions, and our way of life."
In his last public remarks before leaving office, McMaster blasted the Russian president at a reception hosted by the Atlantic Council for the leaders of three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the Council reported.
"Russia employs sophisticated strategies deliberately designed to achieve objectives while falling below the target state's threshold for a military response," he said, noting the tactics include "infiltrating social media, spreading propaganda, weaponizing information, and using other forms of subversion and espionage."
"For too long, some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats," he said, the Atlantic Council reported. "Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions and we have failed to impose sufficient costs. The Kremlin's confidence is growing as its agents conduct their sustained campaigns to undermine our confidence in ourselves and in one another."
McMaster said the West is now engaged in a “fundamental contest between our free and open societies and closed and repressive systems,” adding: “Revisionist and repressive powers are attempting to undermine our values, our institutions, and our way of life.”
"Mr. Putin may believe that he is winning in this new form of warfare," McMaster said. "He may believe that his aggressive actions in the parks of Salisbury, in cyberspace, in the air, and on the high seas can undermine our confidence, our institutions, and our values."
"Perhaps he believes that our free nations are weak and will not respond to his provocations," he said. "He is wrong."
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