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A former Russian foreign minister insisted that Vladimir Putin would not use nuclear weapons and the West should not limit its actions or support for Ukraine over fear he would do so.
“The Kremlin knows it can try to extract concessions, whether from Ukraine or the West, by saber-rattling its last remaining card in the deck: nuclear weapons,” Andrei Kozyrev wrote. “The ultimate conclusion here is that the West should not agree to any unilateral concessions or limit its support of Ukraine too much for fear of nuclear war.”
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Kozyrev, who served as Russia’s foreign minister between 1991 and 1996, claimed that Putin was still a “rational actor” in a series of thoughts posted on Twitter Sunday.
Putin, he argued, instead has possibly “started to believe his own propagandists,” such as a “Nazi-Bandera junta” running the country.
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Kozyrev laid out three points as to why Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was “rational,” but also “wrong and immoral”: He genuinely believed that Ukraine was a satellite nation and not an independent nation; the Russian military has suffered rampant corruption; and Putin, along with the Russian elite, believed that President Biden was “mentally inept” and the EU was “toothless.”
“If you believe all three of the above to be true and your goal is to restore the glory of the Russian Empire (whatever that means), then it is perfectly rational to invade Ukraine,” Kozyrev tweeted.
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And if Putin is acting “rationally,” the West should not fear he will engage in nuclear war, Kozyrev added.
He also argued that the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan “solidified” the narrative of weakness in the West.
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Instead, President Biden and the EU were able to come together as a unified front through NATO to support Ukraine and hit Russia with crippling sanctions that leave it on the brink of default.