Fiona Hill, security advisor to three US presidents: «If we play his game, the law of the strongest will win. Incursion into Russian territory is legitimate, and Moscow wants escalation.
From our correspondent
NEW YORK – Be careful not to play the Putin game, says Al courier Fiona Hill, one of the leading Western experts on Russia. Adviser to three US presidents (George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump), she met with the Russian leader personallywhich I portrayed in the book “Mr. Putin”. We asked her some questions on the sidelines of her conversation with Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats at New York University. According to Hill, “Putin fears that we are losing our fear of nuclear war. Knows its psychological value, having been a junior agent for the KGB during the Euromissile crisis, but the Chinese and others have recently requested a retraction from using these threats. If he could use a tactical nuclear weapon to get everyone to push Ukraine into surrender, he would, but he’s getting a lot of backlash.” The question is not what Putin wants but “what are we willing to give him,” explains Hill. And the day after Brittney Grainer’s exchange with Viktor Bout, the US media noted that Putin seemed to want to adopt the same tactics in the war in Ukraine that he had obtained. The release of an arms dealer: inflicting so much pain that a deal is finally accepted on his terms.
How concerned is the United States that the Ukrainian attacks deeper and deeper inside Russian territory could cause an escalation in the sense of direct confrontation between the United States and NATO on the one hand, and Russia on the other?
“Under the law of war, Ukraine has the absolute right to do so Eliminate the military installations from which they are being targeted. The Ukrainians did not mention that they were behind the operations against these bases. However, they are legitimate military targets, and of course we have seen similar cases in many other conflicts. In Syria, the United States, when there was a “red line” and during the Trump administration, together with France and the United Kingdom, decided to cancel the flight bases that were the source of the use of chemical weapons, and other countries supported them. It is entirely possible that Ukraine will get the UN General Assembly to agree that what it is doing is legitimate.”
Is there a fear that this will lead to an escalation?
“We are seeing Russian escalation everywhere in aggression against Ukraine, even if there is still some brake on their side, it doesn’t seem like it but there is, and it is related to the type of weapons they choose to use but also to the fact that I am weak on some types of ammunition. But their intention is Destroy all major infrastructure so that Ukrainians cannot survive the winter. This is the lesson Putin learned from Napoleon’s forces and the German invasions during World War II, who find themselves mired in winter in Ukraine as well as in the Russian Federation itself. Putin wants to freeze them to death. And he wants people to freeze in Italy, Germany and Britain: this is part of a deliberate strategy, which is to arm everything he can, to create a sense of escalation, using nuclear threats and everything that remains to generate fear, so that people say: “Let’s stop shooting” .
Is there concern that Putin might declare a unilateral truce (Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it will regroup and hang him) and thus divide NATO, especially the members furthest from the front?
He wants exactly this: to divide NATO, to divide Europe, to divide public opinion in the United States and elsewhere, because he wants continued support for Ukraine to become an object of conflict. There are polls such as those by the European Foreign Policy Council that ask whether people want peace at all or justice for Ukraine. The so-called peace camp wants a cease-fire until all this is over. But these two things should not be ruled out, you can have a just peace, but it should not be on Putin’s terms. This is what the US government, the British government and many others say. In Italy, if you talk to diplomats and others, they don’t want that either because no one wants to live in a world where Putin sets an example of how he can take advantage of anything to achieve his goals. This is not only about China, but the world we live in. Law of the strongest will win. When it is said that Ukrainians are fighting for all of us, it is true. It is important that you openly discuss how you will stay together so that there can be a different ending to this story.”
Dec 9, 2022 (changed on Dec 9, 2022 | 22:28)
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