Russian expert lays out Putin’s ‘menu of options’ on Ukraine, warns US vulnerability being tested

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Fox News contributor Daniel Hoffman explained during comments to Fox News Digital on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has a “menu of options” for taking hostile action toward Ukraine.

Putin, who has amassed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, is also using the US response to his actions to discern US vulnerabilities, warned Hoffman, who had a distinguished career at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was three – hourly station chief and a senior official of the clandestine services.

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“It could block the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov,” Hoffman said. “He could launch a full-throttle assault on Kiev, which we would obviously see. He could also use his Spetsnaz guys, the special forces guys – and they’re already in Ukraine – to overthrow this Zelensky government. That’s also an option.”

Vladimir Putin’s President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Hoffman went on to point out that Putin could also choose to inflame the ongoing war in Donbass, a region in southeastern Ukraine.

“But right now he’s getting a lot of benefit from deploying those 100,000 troops,” Hoffman noted. “It’s not a losing proposition for him. It’s a win for him right now.”

Explaining how Ukraine has been besieged by Russia since 2014 with cyberattacks, espionage and military assaults, Hoffman said sanctions and economic pressure never seriously factored into Putin’s calculation regarding Ukraine. , because he sees the country as an existential threat, even though they have caused damage to the Russian economy.

“What changes his math is just hard power,” he said. “That’s why the Biden administration would have wanted Putin to know that he was ready to provide material support to the Ukrainians, so they could lead a counterinsurgency against Russia. The Biden administration hopes to deter Russia from ‘to invade for fear of a military campaign in a quagmire, which would spill an inordinate amount of Russian blood and treasures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference after his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at 'Villa la Grange' in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference after his meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

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Recalling his days in the CIA when they were looking for Osama bin Laden, Hoffman recalled that intelligence officials would step in on contentious issues based on low, medium, or high levels of confidence.

“I have a high level of confidence that Putin will do something,” he said. “As for what it is, I don’t even know if Putin has decided yet.”

Hoffman said Putin was trying to increase tension by threatening Ukraine and imposing a sense that an immediate response is needed.

“He makes any form of diplomacy difficult,” he said. “He doesn’t really want to do this, so he has a good overview of how we’re ready to react. And how we’re ready to respond is what will inform his decision on what to do.”

The Pentagon announced on Monday that the United States had boosted the readiness of some 8,500 American troops amid tensions, but no decision has yet been made to deploy them.

Hoffman thinks Biden would do well to use his bully pulpit more forcefully to expose Russia for its aggression and rally our allies like former President George HW Bush did when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

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“He didn’t emphasize enough, in my opinion, that the United States stands with Ukraine,” he said. “No, we are not going to send our own military there to defend Ukraine, but we are going to make it a prohibitively expensive undertaking for the Russians in terms of bloodshed and treasures if they enter. J wish Biden would say that.”

FILE - President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at 'Villa la Grange', in Geneva, Switzerland June 16, 2021.

FILE – President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to meet at ‘Villa la Grange’, in Geneva, Switzerland June 16, 2021.
(Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File Pool)

“He’s a cold-calculating KGB spy,” Hoffman added of Putin. “He deployed these troops to see how we would react, to see what our vulnerabilities are. That’s what a KGB agent does.”

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“And so he’s looking at that menu of options,” Hoffman added, but noted that there could be many scenarios that Putin thought of that the United States hasn’t considered.

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