'False crisis' regarding Russia hurts relations between U.S. and Ukraine, experts say

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he had not seen the intelligence assessments regarding an invasion, and that the warnings were stoking panic.
U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 24, 2022

The situation in Ukraine is a "false crisis" that has hurt relations between Washington and Kyiv, as the Biden Administration increasingly claims to know the date and method of a Russian incursion against its neighbor, experts told Just the News.

The experts made their comments Monday while appearing on the John Solomon Reports podcast.

"It's a false crisis," said international relations expert Kiron Skinner, who served as an adviser at the State Department under Donald Trump. She made that assessment, she noted, because "there's been a war of attrition going on between Kyiv and Moscow for eight years." 

International tension has spiked recently as Russia maintains an estimated 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine and has issued ominous statements about "the start of a countdown" and claims that Moscow is being "provoked." 

The U.S. has repeatedly announced that Moscow plans to stage a "false flag" provocation in order to justify an attack on Ukraine, and has said that the attack is "imminent," and could occur this week. The State Department on Monday shuttered its main embassy in Kyiv, and moved the operations to the western city of Lviv.

The announcements and predictions strike a sour note in government circles in Kyiv, according to Dan Hoffman, a former station chief for the CIA in Moscow.

"The relationship between the United States and Ukraine is strained right now, to say the least, because Russia has got 130,000 troops on the border," Hoffman told Just the News. "President Zelenskyy, rightly so, is questioning, well, where's the intelligence?"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday said that he had not seen the intelligence assessments regarding an invasion, and that the warnings were stoking panic.

"I think there is too much information out there today about a deep full scale war on Russia's part," Zelenskyy said. "There is even talk of appropriate dates. We understand all the risks. We understand that the risks are there. If anyone has any additional information about a 100% chance of an invasion, they should give it to us."

Alternating between English and Ukrainian, Zelenskyy continued: "I have to speak with our people as President, and I say the truth to people, and the truth is that we have different information."

Information regarding an attack comes through intelligence channels, the administration has said. But the information and the subsequent leaks prompt questions from the former station chief, Hoffman.

"The Biden administration's kind of substituting diplomacy for releasing, declassifying intelligence, thinking that by declassifying intelligence they're going to influence Vladimir Putin's behavior," Hoffman said. "I think that's frankly a little bit lazy."

The method falls short, he noted.

"We haven't influenced his behavior at all," Hoffman said. But Putin might be influencing ours.

The administration perhaps thinks "they're doing something by releasing intelligence that, frankly, I think it's possible Vladimir Putin is feeding us anyways."

Putin may not want an invasion, but has been "probing," Skinner said.

Predictions from the West, meanwhile, about an imminent invasion are harmful to Ukraine, that country's president said.

"The best friend of our enemies is panic in our country," Zelenskyy said. "All this information, it only fuels panic. It doesn't help us."