Speaking on Bloomberg’s Trish Regan on “Street Smart”, Carnegie’s Eugene Rumer argued that neither sanctions nor weapons will force Russia to change its current policy on Ukraine. The Ukraine crisis is an existential issue for the Kremlin and it is willing to escalate if necessary.

Eugene Rumer
Rumer, a former national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the U.S. National Intelligence Council, is a senior fellow and the director of Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Program.
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President Vladimir Putin’s ultimate goal is to bring Ukraine back into the orbit as part of the constellation of Russian satellites. He may be able to win militarily, but it will be politically challenging for him to force the government in Kyiv to follow in Russia’s footsteps, Rumer explained.

By further developing its relationship with China, Russia is trying to show the world that it is not isolated, he added. However, in this relationship of mutual convenience, China cannot replace Russian access to Western financial markets or Western technology. China also has more at stake with the United States than Russia. For this reason, the Chinese will not blindly follow in President Putin’s footsteps, Rumer warned.  

Washington can play up some of the weaknesses in the Russia-China relationship and focus on revitalizing NATO, Rumer concluded. These steps will convince President Putin that his current policy will not leave Russia better off in the long run.

This interview was originally broadcast on Bloomberg TV.