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Putin likely to view West’s declarations about Ukraine as appeasement, as Hitler did their predecessors’ words about the Rhineland, Pastukhov says

US President Biden speaking on the united efforts of the free world to support Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland on 26 March 2022 (Credit: screen capture)
US President Biden speaking on the united efforts of the free world to support Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland on 26 March 2022 (Credit: screen capture)

Vladimir Pastukhov says that it is unclear why Western leaders say with increasing frequency that they are not parties to Putin’s war in Ukraine and that they will not interfere because they are already “interfering” by providing lethal aid and because saying they won’t intervene will only lead the Kremlin leader to expand his aggression.

Vladimir Pastukhov (Image:
Vladimir Pastukhov (Image:

Such declarations, the London-based Russian analyst says, either reflect an effort to calm their own populations, send a signal to Kyiv that it must ultimately make a deal with Moscow, or reflect a complete lack of understanding about the nature of aggression (see post reposted at

Related: Ukrainians never thought NATO could be afraid of Russia – Zelenskyy at summit in Brussels

Telling a leader hellbent on aggression that you won’t intervene in this or that case, Pastukhov argues, inevitably leads him to conclude that you won’t intervene ever, to launch broader aggression, and ultimately force you to begin to defend your interests and rights seriously from what will be an initially much weaker position.

Related: Garry Kasparov: If Putin’s nuclear blackmail works against Ukraine, he will use it next in Poland or Estonia

That is what happened in the case of Hitler when the British and French failed to respond to Hitler’s occupation of the Rhineland in 1936. And when the German dictator saw that, he concluded, according to his architect Albert Speer, that the road was clear for him to move even more boldly.

That was exactly the reverse of what the British and French hoped for; and tragically, Western leaders may find themselves in exactly the same position their predecessors did in the years leading up to World War II. Those who sought to avoid that conflict most passionately as history shows were the very ones who made such a world conflagration more likely.

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