A video clip from a 2014 interview in which the late Arizona Senator John McCain warned of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in Ukraine went viral on Twitter in late December.
In the clip, from a September 2014 interview with the BBC over six months after Russia annexed Crimea, McCain criticizes the Obama administration’s reluctance to help Ukraine out of fear of provoking Putin. The late senator told the BBC that Putin hopes to “separate eastern Ukraine” to create a land bridge between Russia and Crimea.
He criticized the Obama administration for not providing Ukraine with weapons “when they were begging for them.” He also expressed dismay that the US refused to provide Ukraine with intelligence “because we didn’t want to provoke Vladimir Putin.” He argued that by “showing weakness,” the United States was already provoking Putin.
He said Putin’s ambition is to restore the former Russian empire. When the interviewer notes that Putin never said he wanted to incorporate eastern Ukraine into Russia, McCain said Putin was seeking “Novorossiya” or “New Russia” in eastern Ukraine.
He said Putin “wants eastern Ukraine” to ensure he can keep Crimea, adding that if Putin “can get away with it,” he would also try to take “Moldova and the Baltics as well.” The user who posted the video clip, Maksym Borodin, claimed that McCain’s remarks “fully predicted Putin’s next moves.”
Maksym Borodin on Twitter: “Back in 2014, John McCain fully predicted Putin’s next moves. “Not to provoke Putin is to show weakness, which will 100% provoke Putin” “A developing and democratic Ukraine is a threat to Putin’s power” “He will try to cut more Ukraine and then Baltics” https://t.co/CyOXLvZl1Y” / Twitter
Former Obama administration Russia Gate hack Evelyn Farkas, now the executive director of the McCain Institute, told Newsweek that John McCain advocated for Ukraine more than any other US statesman. She said McCain was right about “Putin’s nefarious intentions and his revanchist disregard for Europe’s post-Soviet democracies.”
Putin’s Game Plan Predicted by John McCain in Resurfaced 2014 Clip (newsweek.com)
McCain was an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the Crimean conflict after Moscow claimed that a 2014 referendum in Crimea approved Russian annexation. In a2015interview on CBS News, as he was pushing Obama to send weapons to Ukraine, McCain said he was “ashamed of my country.”