U.S. Envoy to NATO says Putin no "fine man," reiterates support of Ukraine's sovereignty
"We are seeing Russia with malign activities on so many fronts right now, especially the hybrid area where they are through social media sowing discontent and even false information to try to divide our allies and take them away from the West and toward some dissidents and then hopefully they think influenced by them," the Envoy says.
"They're also doing things like the terrible attack, the nerve agent attack in Great Britain. They're supporting a Syrian dictator who is using chemical weapons on his own people to kill even children and it's just on and on and on. They're also in violation of the very important INF treaty with the United States. They are not supposed to be building ballistic missiles at an intermediate range but they are and we know they are. So there are so many areas where they are working against the interests of freedom and democracies and peace in the world. And it is a big- it's a big part of our deterrence effort to keep them from taking over sovereign nations as they did in the Ukraine when they took Crimea in 2014," she told CBS News.
Asked by a host if she can reassure the allies that President Trump will not agree to recognize Crimea as part of Russia when he meets privately with Vladimir Putin, the U.S. Ambassador said: "Our alliance is very solid and including all of the efforts that the United States is making to shore up the sovereignty of the Ukraine. The Ukraine people -they stood very tall in their- their really peaceful revolution is what it was at Maidan. They have stood strong for their sovereignty and their right of self-governance."
"And we are standing behind them on that," she said. "And there is no there's no light between any of our allies on that very important issue."
Commenting on whether Vladimir Putin is a "fine man" as President Trump called him last week, the Ambassador said she "wouldn't" describe him this way, at the same time adding that "despite how the many malign activities that Vladimir Putin has been doing just in the last few years, NATO talks to Russia" while U.S.-Russia military to military talks are aimed "not to allow escalation of hostilities."
"I think the president will encourage Vladimir Putin to start changing their behavior to be - we'd like for Russia to be an ally a trading partner. But right now, we have sanctions against Russia because of their malign influence and the things they're doing that are very disruptive - trying to divide our alliance," Kay Bailey Hutchinson said.