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U.S. Diplomat Wendy Sherman: Putin Has 'Killed Creating A Better Future For The Russian People'

By Current Time February 26, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine was a grave miscalculation that will inflict huge costs not only on Ukraine but Russia as well, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has told Current Time.

"Vladimir Putin has killed diplomacy. He has killed arms control. He has killed creating a better future for the Russian people," Sherman said.

"President Putin made a choice that he didn't have to make. But he chose to inflict war on Ukraine. He decided to inflict costs on Ukrainian people and on the Russian people," Sherman added.

Putin on February 24 Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion that has killed dozens of people, forced more than 50,000 to flee Ukraine in just 48 hours and sparked fears of a wider conflict in Europe.

Early on February 26, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a defiant message from downtown Kyiv, saying Ukrainians would not capitulate but would fight to defend their homeland.

His comments came as fighting was reported around the Ukrainian capital and elsewhere in Ukraine. A Russian missile also hit an apartment block in the morning on February 26. No one was killed in that attack, Ukrainian officials said.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on February 26 that 3,000 Russian military personnel have been killed in the invasion so far.

"And so while the Russian people send their sons to war, and maybe see body bags -- undoubtedly will see body bags -- coming back, as well of Ukrainian people, see their colleagues, their family members die for democracy and for freedom," Sherman told Current Time, the Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

"Vladimir Putin has chosen something that was not needed and can sit comfortably in his dacha in Sochi, with reportedly billions of dollars, while ordinary Russians, and certainly Ukrainians, bear the consequences of this horrifying choice that he has made."

Putin's Russia finds itself internationally isolated as condemnation and outrage grows over the unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

Western countries have announced a barrage of sanctions on Russia, including blacklisting its banks and banning technology exports. But they have stopped short of forcing it out of the SWIFT system for international bank payments.

The United States on February 25 imposed sanctions on Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. The European Union and Britain earlier froze any assets Putin and Lavrov held in their territory. Canada took similar steps.

Sherman said the Western sanction action against Russia "will mean great cost to the Russian people."

The Ukrainians' fierce resistance to the Russian invasion is probably something Putin did not count on, said Sherman.

"President Putin is finding is that this is no easy task, because Ukrainian people are committed to their future," Sherman said.

"I think it failed because Vladimir Putin was intent on taking Ukraine, going back in history, deciding that he would decide for the Ukrainian people what their future was when they had decided for themselves and had laid down their lives for that future, for democracy for freedom," Sherman said.

"And they were working very hard. And we see today in the war that Vladimir Putin has inflicted on the Ukrainian people and enormous resistance, where average Ukrainians are taking to the street with whatever they have in their hands to fight back," Sherman added

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/invasion-ukraine- putin-sherman-future/31724627.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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