Mr Cormac Smith has argued that the "time to turn our back on Russia" was back in 2008 after Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia. The former diplomat be
Mr Cormac Smith has argued that the “time to turn our back on Russia” was back in 2008 after Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia. The former diplomat believed “a hybrid war” has been waged against the West and NATO by Russia over Ukraine ever since the Kremlin’s troops seized Crimea.
Mr Smith told LBC: “The Canadian prime minister has just been quoted as saying that it’s time to turn our back on Russia.
“It was arguably time to turn our back on Russia in 2008 when they invaded Georgia.
“It was most definitely time to turn our back on Russia in 2014, when they illegally annexed Crimea and invaded Donbass and have had a low-level war for the last eight years waged not only against Ukraine, but quite frankly, a hybrid war waged against the West.
“I’ve got to tell you and listeners, we are already at war with Russia. It is now only a matter of escalation and who does that escalation first.”
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It comes a Leaders of US spy agencies warned on Tuesday that Putin may intensify the assault on Ukraine despite military setbacks and economic hardships resulting from international sanctions, setting up “an ugly next few weeks.”
They estimated that 2,000 to 4,000 Russian troops had died and said Russia was feeling the effects of sanctions, but the situation could become much worse for Ukrainians, with food and water supplies in Kyiv possibly running out within two weeks.
“Our analysts assess that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks and instead may escalate,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the annual House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats, where she testified with other intelligence agency directors.
Ms Haines said Putin’s announcement that he was elevating his nuclear forces’ readiness was “extremely unusual” since the 1960s, but that intelligence analysts had not observed changes in Russia’s nuclear posture beyond what was detected during previous international crises.
“We also have not observed force-wide nuclear posture changes that go beyond what we’ve seen in prior moments of heightened tensions,” Ms Haines said.
William Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, echoed Haines’ assessment that Russia is unlikely to back down.
“I think Putin is angry and frustrated right now. He’s likely to double down and try to grind down the Ukrainian military with no regard for civilian casualties,” Mr Burns said.
Burns said he and CIA analysts do not see how Putin can accomplish his goal of taking Kyiv and replacing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s government with a pro-Moscow or puppet leadership.
“I fail to see how he can produce that kind of an end game and where that leads, I think, is for an ugly next few weeks in which he doubles down … with scant regard for civilian casualties,” Mr Burns told the committee.
Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the situation in Ukraine’s capital could worsen quickly.
“I don’t have a specific number of days of supply that the population has.
“But with supplies being cut off, it will be somewhat desperate in, I would say, 10 days to two weeks,” Mr Berrier said.