Putin Brags Russian Military Can 'Take Kiev in Two Weeks'
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly bragged to European leaders that his forces could seize the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev in two weeks if he wanted.
Putin allegedly told European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso during talks on the Ukraine crisis, “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.”
Amb. John Bolton joined Bill Hemmer on America's Newsroom today to react to these disturbing comments from Putin, as President Barack Obama is en route to Europe for significant NATO meetings later this week.
Bolton said Putin is pursuing a "talk-and-fight strategy" with the objective of getting a Ukrainian government that is more compliant with Russian wishes.
According to Bolton, Putin is aiding pro-Russian separatists in the ongoing military struggle in Eastern Ukraine while also engaging in diplomatic talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European leaders.
Bolton said Putin remains defiant and is proceeding both politically and militarily, as our economic sanctions on Russia have been "very weak" and ineffective at swaying Putin's course.
He agreed with comments from Senate Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez that we need to give Ukrainians a fighting chance to defend themselves.
"I think Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin see the weakness of the U.S. and NATO response to what's happened in Ukraine as a potential opening to drive wedges among NATO members," Bolton said. "That would leave the countries of eastern and central Europe, the new members NATO, feeling particularly vulnerable."
"I don't think Putin predicted this NATO weakness when he started, but I think he sees it clearly now."
Watch the clip above.