‘Obama Not Tough Enough on Putin’: Panetta Calls For Arming Ukraine

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” President Barack Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta said by not arming the Ukrainians, Obama is not being tough enough on Russian President Vladimir Putin “because we’re engaged in a whole new chapter of the Cold War.”

Panetta said, “Vladimir Putin is not a mystery. We’ve seen him operate before. The intelligence community has nailed down pretty well what Putin is all about, and Putin is all about Russia and expanding the influence of Russia. He’s about dividing the east from the west. He’s about doing everything he can to regain influence over the former states of the Soviet Union, and he is somebody who will take advantage of other countries and weakness if he sees that. Frankly, we’ve got to take a tougher stand against him because we’re engaged in a whole new chapter of the Cold War.”

“I think the west needs to be much tougher,” he continued. “The West combined with the United States needs to be much tougher in drawing the line on Vladimir Putin. I think we ought to be providing military aid to the Ukrainians. I think we ought to be bolstering NATO. I think we ought to be doing everything we can to provide other energy supplies so that Russia isn’t the only country that provides energy to those countries in that part of the world. I think we’ve got to take a number of steps here to make very clear to Putin that he cannot simply use military power to be able to invade and take over another country. That simply cannot be allowed to happen.”

When asked if that includes weapons to Ukraine, Panetta said, “Absolutely.”

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