U.S. must do whatever it takes to help Ukraine, diplomat says during Central Illinois visit

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Russia-Ukraine graphic(MGN)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 11:21 PM CDT
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EAST PEORIA (25 News Now) - The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine during the administration of President George W. Bush believes the current president might be intimidated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats in its war against Ukraine.

John Herbst, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006, spoke Thursday at an East Peoria Chamber of Commerce gathering ahead of an evening discussion at Bradley University. He’s now the senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.

John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine
John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine(25 News Now/Heart of Illinois ABC)

Herbst said the Biden Administration has on multiple occasions said the U.S. will not take certain steps to aid Ukraine because Russia might escalate the conflict and start World War III.

“So they are letting Putin’s nuclear bluffs intimidate them from taking steps that are very much in our interests,” Herbst said.

“All that does is encourage Putin to do more, more aggression and more nuclear bluffs,” said Herbst.

Taking action now will reduce chances for a wider war, said Herbst, because he believes Putin wants Moscow to again influence the countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

“And if he were to succeed in Ukraine because we stopped supplying the weapons Ukraine needs, Putin’s sights again are also on our Baltic NATO allies, which used to be part of the Soviet Union,” said Herbst.

“We can be sure he would use the same tactics again, and there we have to send our troops to stop Putin,” he added.

“So if you want to stop a U.S.-Russia war, give Ukraine everything it needs to defeat the Russians in Ukraine,” Herbst said.

The diplomat said the U.S. and its European allies have done an “excellent job” at finding alternate energy sources to offset the loss of oil and gas supplies from Russia.