Putin is no genius, says Obama
"Strategic and tough sanctions against Moscow have effectively battled Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine," says Barack Obama.Source: AFP, Tanjug
AFP is quoting the U.S. president as saying in an interview broadcast on Monday that "Putin had convinced many in Washington that he was a genius for his lightning-quick annexation of the Crimean peninsula and invasion of areas of eastern Ukraine."
"But the U.S. administration's non-aggressive response, while frustrating hawkish Republicans in Congress who advocated more forceful intervention, paid dividends in the long run, with sanctions now biting into the limping Russian economy," the French agency reported Obama as saying.
"I said at the time we don't want war with Russia, but we can apply steady (sanctions) pressure working with our European partners," Obama told NPR during the interview recorded on December 19.
"And today, I'd sense that at least outside of Russia, maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn't so smart. Part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil," Obama said, and added:
Steady sanctions pressure "would make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were (oil price) disruptions... that they'd have enormous difficulty managing it".