Ex-Ambassador John Bolton: US, West ‘Failed to Deter Russian Invasion’

Ex-Ambassador John Bolton: US, West 'Failed to Deter Russian Invasion' (Newsmax/''Spicer & Co.'')

By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 20 April 2022 08:53 PM

John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and national security adviser, told Newsmax on Wednesday that it was a ''major failure'' that the United States and other Western nations did not act early enough to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine in February.

''We failed to deter Russia's invasion to begin with, that was a major U.S.-Western failure,'' Bolton said on ''Spicer & Co.'' ''But now not only are we not deterring Putin, but he's [also] deterring us.''

Bolton, who served under then-President Donald Trump from April 2018 to September 2019, said that the recent public test of a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile is part of Putin's plan to intimidate Western nations to prevent them from providing Ukrainians with the weapons they need to defend their country.

''I think it's consistent with a range of things he's done over the past couple of months to try and intimidate the U.S., and the West as a whole, to deter us from taking necessary and appropriate steps to aid the Ukraine,'' Bolton said. ''And I think he's succeeded.''

He said that, as an example, there is a big debate going on in Germany about supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons, something it has refused to do until now.

''That's the kind of split inside NATO that Putin thought he'd actually see more of, and that he is working to expand,'' Bolton said.

Bolton said that Putin may be considering placing missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave, an unconnected section of Russia on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland.

''I think the Russians are actually talking about putting more missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave, which is a piece of Russia on the Baltic Sea, separated from Russia by the Baltic republics,'' Bolton said.

''I think Finland and Sweden should join NATO. I think they certainly want to, but it's in our interest as well. If people look at a map, they'll see how this will clarify the line. It will remove a zone of ambiguity between NATO and Russia, and Finland, and Sweden.''

Bolton said that public opinion polls in those countries approve joining NATO, given that Russia has never crossed into a NATO country.

''For all the bluster we hear from Moscow, Russia has never crossed the NATO border,'' he said. ''I think that's what [has] moved, for the first time ever in both Finland and Sweden, majorities of their population in public opinion polls [to] say they want to join NATO. I think we should welcome them.''

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