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Madeleine Albright says Putin making historic mistake

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Russian President Vladimir Putin would be making a “historic error” if he proceeds with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Mr. Putin’s revisionist and absurd assertion that Ukraine was ‘entirely created by Russia’ and effectively robbed from the Russian empire is fully in keeping with his warped worldview. Most disturbing to me: It was his attempt to establish the pretext for a full-scale invasion,” Albright wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times.

“Should he do so, it will be a historic error,” the former top U.S. diplomat wrote.

Albright recounted her impressions of Putin as the first senior U.S. official to meet him after he became Russia’s president. She said she had noted at the time that he was “small and pale” and “so cold as to be almost reptilian.”

Flying back after their initial meeting, Albright said she wrote that Putin was “embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness,” referring to the fall and dissolution of the Soviet Union.

On Monday, Putin announced that he would recognize two breakaway territories in eastern Ukrainian, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, as independent states. Governments around the world, such as those of the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada, were quick to respond to the move, issuing economic sanctions against Russia.

In Putin’s efforts to boost Russia’s standing, Albright said an invasion of Ukraine would only be “leaving his country diplomatically isolated, economically crippled and strategically vulnerable in the face of a stronger, more united Western alliance.”

She wrote that since their first meeting, Putin has become an authoritarian who “equates his own well-being with that of the nation.”

“He is sure that Americans mirror both his cynicism and his lust for power and that in a world where everyone lies, he is under no obligation to tell the truth,” she said. “Because he believes that the United States dominates its own region by force, he thinks Russia has the same right.”

Albright wrote that even if Western powers are able to stave off an all-out war, Putin would simply wait for another chance to “strike” and said the U.S. must “deny him that opportunity.”

“Although Mr. Putin will, in my experience, never admit to making a mistake, he has shown that he can be both patient and pragmatic,” she wrote. “He also is surely conscious that the current confrontation has left him even more dependent on China; he knows that Russia cannot prosper without some ties to the West.”

Tags Madeleine Albright Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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