Following are excerpts of the interview on the situation in Ukraine with Admiral James Stavridis, who led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander. Currently, he is Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
(Interviewer: Keiko Iizuka, Washington Bureau Chief of Yomiuri Shimbun)
Q: How do you see the current situation in Ukraine?
A: We all need to recognize that what Russia has done is unacceptable behavior. We can’t change borders by use of military force.
NATO and the U.S. should help Ukraine economically and we also need to help them militarily. I do not advocate NATO troops going to Ukraine, nor do I advocate aircraft involvement or ship involvement in active combat. However, I believe that we should provide intelligence, information, cyber capability, logistic support—food, uniforms, fuel, ammunition, small arms, light radar, night vision devices, and advisers and trainers. The reason is that it will have a deterrent effect on deterring a further invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
We’re going to be in violent disagreement with Russia about their annexation of Crimea for a long time. We need to recognize the agenda between Russia and the U.S. and NATO is bigger than Ukraine. We’re going to need a new way to interact diplomatically.
My guess at this point is that Russia will not invade Ukraine more, because they recognize the high cost associated with it—diplomatically, economically, politically. Sanctions were applied. There are more sanctions yet in reserve, there are still many tools available to Western decision makers to punish Russia if they continue on this reckless course of action.
Q: The Russian military forces close to the border are a means of an objectivist course?
A: They’re trying to put pressure on Ukraine by threatening to invade. They are trying to cause the government in Kiev to back away from a relationship with the West. I don’t think they will succeed, but clearly the intent of keeping 40,000 troops massed on the border can only be to put additional pressure on the Ukrainian government.
Read the full interview