David J. Kramer, the Bradford M. Freeman Managing Director of Global Policy, discusses Putin's illegal annexation ceremony and emphasizes the need for international support for Ukraine.
David J. Kramer, the Bradford M. Freeman Managing Director of Global Policy, discusses Putin’s illegal annexation ceremony and emphasizes the need for international support for Ukraine.
Read the video transcript
A lot has happened over the past week in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where we saw Russian forces carry out a phony referendum in four parts of Ukraine that Russia controls at least in part. And then we saw last Friday, President Putin announced the illegal annexation of these four regions. The leaders of those regions and Russian controlled hands traveled to Moscow to join Russia, and yet the entire international community has not accepted and recognized this illegal annexation – including countries that Russia assumes to be loyal to it such as Kazakhstan or Belarus. Instead, what we have seen are Ukrainian forces on the march – regaining control over Ukrainian territory, including cities like Zoom and Lehman. And in the process they have been exposing terrible atrocities committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian citizens, but they are regaining what is after all internationally recognized Ukrainian territory. Ukraine is on the offense. Russia’s on the defense, and I think we’re likely to see increasing morale problems among Russian forces where more and more Russians will wonder, ‘why are they fighting against Ukraine?’
We see tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of Russians fleeing Russia going to neighboring countries to avoid the mobilization that Putin recently announced. More and more we see the Russian side becoming desperate, including President Putin talking about the possibility of using nuclear weapons should attacks against Russian territory can continue. And yet the international community and in particular the United States needs to stand firm against these threats and make it clear that there would be unimaginable consequences should Putin decide to use such weapons.
We also need to make sure that we do not back down in our support for Ukraine, but instead ramp up our military assistance, maintain tight sanctions, and support for Ukraine, so that Ukraine wins this war. The sooner, the better. That way, the suffering and death of Ukrainians will come to an end and it’s important that we defeat the invading Russian forces in this battle.