CN Live! was joined by Mark Sleboba in Moscow and Scott Ritter in the U.S. to discuss the current situation on the ground in Ukraine, and the economic and information war that is raging along with the guns.
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The Russian intervention in Ukraine is now one week old and the situation on the ground is subject to an information war that makes it hard to assess what is happening. Western media is saying that things are going badly for Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin says things are going according to plan. But what that plan is, is not entirely certain. Putin said the object of the intervention is to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. How that is to be achieved is only slowly emerging.
Western media reports say Russia is purposely targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, which Russia denies. Video and photographic evidence appear to show destruction to civilian targets, but it is not clear if this was intentional or return fire to populated areas where Moscow says extremists are operating from.
Russia says it has no intentions of occupying Ukraine, but it’s unclear how long Russia forces would have to remain to pacify the country. Will the continuing arming of Ukraine, and C.I.A. training of guerrilla units mean the U.S. is intending to bog Russia down in a quagmire? Is the U.S. intention to give Russia its “Vietnam”, the way the U.S. gave the Soviet Union its “Vietnam” in Afghanistan?
There are open calls from Western capitals for regime change in Moscow. In the past week, the economic war against Russia has intensified, with the sanctioning of its central bank and the removal of many Russian banks from the SWIFT international banking system. What impact will the sanctions that have on the Russian and world economies?
Meanwhile Western governments have shut down English-language Russian media, while the BBC continues to broadcast in Russia. The Moscow Times, critical of Putin, continues to publish, but the radio station Echo of Moscow has been shut down by Russian authorities.
Our guests are Mark Sleboda, a former U.S. Navy nuclear engineer, political analyst and raido host. He joins us from Moscow. And Scott Ritter, a former U.S. Marines counterintelligence officer and U.N. weapons inspector. He is in upstate New York.