What You Need To Know:
✅ Gates: Need more “balance in our own relationship with Russia”;
✅ Gates: Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” must be preserved;
✅ The 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution was the “immediate cause” of the annexation of Crimea, Gates said.
With many in the West clamoring for a deal to resolve ongoing geopolitical disputes with Russia in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, Ukraine has been left to wonder where it will fit in.
According to Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the United States needs to “balance” against an opportunistic Russian President who is willing to “push wherever he feels that he has the opportunity.”
“We have not reacted strongly enough,” Gates told Hromadske in an interview at the Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv.
Gates, who served as CIA Director from 1991 to 1993 before working as Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, added that the U.S. should redouble its support for Ukraine against Russia.
In 2008, the Caucasus nation of Georgia underwent a war with its neighbor to the north Russia. Some analysts have seen the event as an omen of what was to come with Russia’s later annexation of Crimea.
“In places like Georgia, the Russians have total escalation control,” Gates said, adding that Russia’s ability to “control the environment short of a major war with the United States is very strong.”
“I think we have to be realistic about the fact that neither the Europeans and the Americans were prepared to send troops to Georgia,” Gates added.
The former Secretary of Defense added that Putin’s annexation of Crimea was a response to Ukraine’s westward turn that came with the 2014 EuroMaidan revolution which, in Putin’s mind, placed Russia’s naval assets on the peninsula at risk.
Hromadske International spoke with Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the sidelines of the YES Forum in Kyiv on Sep. 16.