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Former US Ambassador: “Sanctions can’t be the only response” to Russian invasion

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now underway, a move President Biden called “unprovoked and unjustified”. Russia attacked Ukraine with air and missile strikes, along with ground forces coming from three directions. Reports suggest Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, has also been attacked.

“It is a major move by Putin and an unwise one that the West has to counter,” said Steven Mann, the former U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan from 1998 to 2001. 

Mann, who also served in other roles for the State Department, said he wants to see more sanctions.

“What comes now, I hope, is sanctions on a different scale,” Mann said. “I hope we see the sanctioning of all Russian banks. It’s time also to bring swift sanctions into play and very heavy tech sanctions against Russia.”

But, he added, sanctions can’t be the entire response.

“The West has to, and I’m sure is looking at, reinforcing the military defense of the Baltic States being open to assistance requests from the Government of Ukraine and of course, other potentially threatened governments like Georgia,” Mann said.  “We can’t ask of sanctions more than sanctions can do.”

Annie Andersen

Russia invaded Ukraine with air and missile strikes, as well as ground forces coming in from three directions. Ukraine’s capital Kiev has also been attacked. For more on this we have Ambassador Stephen Mann. He served as the US Ambassador to Turkmenistan, a former Soviet Union country from 1998 until 2001. He’s also worked for the State Department took assignments and a fellowship in Russia. Ambassador Mann, thank you so much for joining us. First, Russia has officially invaded Ukraine. What are your thoughts on this?

Steven Mann

Well it’s It’s an outrage. And this is the second Russian invasion of Ukraine. The first of course, being the 2014 seizure of Crimea and occupation of the southeast. So it really it is it is a major major move by Putin and an unwise one that the West has to counter.

Annie Andersen

Ukraine was part of the USSR and one thing that we’re hearing from the Kremlin is that people there see themselves as Russian and not Ukrainian from what you’ve seen on the ground. Is that true?

Steven Mann

No, it’s not true. There is, of course, a certain proportion of Ukraine that has Russian rather than Ukrainian as their native language. But this pretext that the Kremlin is offering that Russian ethnics are threatened, has no basis in reality, and is frankly a big lie.

Annie Andersen

We’ve been hearing from the west and the UN and NATO that we need to watch out for false flag narratives and even last night at the UN and emergency meeting we heard Russia say hey, we’re the victims here. Ukraine is the aggressor. How prevalent is this false flag thing going to be?

Steven Mann

Well, it’s it’s part of the much wider disinformation that the Kremlin controlled media and Kremlin spokespersons have been putting out so I think this is not getting any traction outside of Russian media. And we can see it for what it is

Annie Andersen

President Biden has announced sanctions and says More are coming but the other day we heard Russia’s foreign minister say, Hey, we’ve had sanctions before. That’s fine. Are these sanctions going to be enough?

Steven Mann

Oh, we can’t ask of sanctions. More than sanctions can do. Sanctions can’t be the only response. So in this crisis, the West has to and I’m sure is looking at reinforcing the military defense of the Baltic States being open to assistance requests from the Government of Ukraine and of course, other potentially threatened governments like Georgia. But in terms of sanctions, what comes now I hope is sanctions on a different scale. And I hope we see the sanctioning of all Russian banks. It’s time also to bring swift sanctions into play and very heavy tech sanctions against Russia.

Annie Andersen :

Former Russian Ambassador Michael McFaul said that he thinks this is just the beginning and Vladimir Putin is going to continue to try and do this as long as he’s in power. And now just recently, the Baltic states have called for article four of NATO which calls for a special convening, if they feel threatened. Should the Baltic states feel threatened right now?

Steven Mann

Well, I think they have to be because Putin is embarked on a long term plan to reconstitute a 21st century version of the Soviet Union. Now, the Baltics always were different historically from the other republics. But yeah, Article four is precisely what should be invoked right now. And let’s pray we don’t get to Article Five.

Annie Andersen

And then finally, a Russian President Putin appears to have threatened nuclear action on the west and that possibly pre recorded video. Should the West help Ukraine? Is this something everybody in the West should be worried about Given Russia’s nuclear arsenal? Steven Mann What we have to worry about is the fact that this that Russia is once again, an expansionist power. And history shows that we do not come out well, when we accommodate the the dreams of expansionist dictators like Putin in this case, so we need to be tough. We need to be confident and NATO needs to be cohesive.

Annie Andersen

Well, Ambassador Mann, thank you so much for your time.

Steven Mann

Pleasure. Thank you.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now underway, a move President Biden called “unprovoked and unjustified”. Russia attacked Ukraine with air and missile strikes, along with ground forces coming from three directions. Reports suggest Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, has also been attacked.

“It is a major move by Putin and an unwise one that the West has to counter,” said Steven Mann, the former U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan from 1998 to 2001. 

Mann, who also served in other roles for the State Department, said he wants to see more sanctions.

“What comes now, I hope, is sanctions on a different scale,” Mann said. “I hope we see the sanctioning of all Russian banks. It’s time also to bring swift sanctions into play and very heavy tech sanctions against Russia.”

But, he added, sanctions can’t be the entire response.

“The West has to, and I’m sure is looking at, reinforcing the military defense of the Baltic States being open to assistance requests from the Government of Ukraine and of course, other potentially threatened governments like Georgia,” Mann said.  “We can’t ask of sanctions more than sanctions can do.”

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