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Carlson Interview of Putin Masks Real NATO Stakes: Crypto Aids Ukraine Amid Congressional Hesitation

Last Updated February 10, 2024 9:57 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated February 10, 2024 9:57 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Vladimir Putin expressed openness to resolving the Ukraine conflict through diplomatic means.
  • Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine turned to crypto for financial aid, securing millions of dollars in donations.
  • Despite concerns about misuse, crypto fundraising for pro-Ukrainian causes has outpaced Russian equivalents.
  • American officials acknowledge the unmatched impact of a $60 billion defense appropriation.

In a two-hour interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a more candid perspective than usual on the potential resolution of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rather than envisioning a military victory, he was open to seeking a diplomatic agreement with Western nations to resolve the conflict.

Putin Rules Out Expansion of War to Poland and Latvia

Putin emphasized that Russia will persistently defend its interests “to the end.” However, he clarified that Russia has no intention of extending its military operations in Ukraine to neighboring countries like Poland and Latvia.

During his first interview with an American journalist since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, Putin highlighted that Western leaders have acknowledged the futility of achieving a strategic victory over Russia. He noted that they are now grappling with the challenge of determining their next steps in addressing the situation.

In response to a question about the possibility of deploying Russian troops to Poland , a NATO member, President Vladimir Putin, stated that such action would only occur if Poland were to initiate an attack on Russia.

He emphasized that Russia holds no territorial ambitions in Poland, Latvia, or any other neighboring country. Putin reiterated that Russia’s stance is driven by a lack of strategic interest in engaging in conflicts beyond its borders.

He said :

“We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else. It’s just threat mongering.”

It’s crucial to highlight that the English translation wasn’t provided right away, and initially, the original Russian remarks made by Putin weren’t released. This situation forced viewers to depend on the dubbed translation featured in Mr. Carlson’s broadcast. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain a stance of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’

Putin’s Controversial Claim on Poland’s Alleged Collaboration with Hitler

During an interview, Putin made a contentious assertion  regarding Poland’s actions before World War Two. He claimed that Poland’s refusal to cede territory to Hitler pushed the German leader to initiate the war.

However, historians like Prof. Prazmowska argue that Putin’s interpretation overlooks crucial historical context. While diplomatic exchanges occurred between Poland and Nazi Germany, labeling Poland’s actions as collaboration is inaccurate.

She explained :

“The accusation that the Poles were collaborating is nonsense. You can’t interpret these things as if this were collaboration with Nazi Germany, because it just so happened that the Soviet Union also signed treaties with Germany [at the same time].”

Prazmowska emphasized  that diplomatic engagement doesn’t equate to collaboration, noting that the Soviet Union also had treaties with Germany. The invasion of Poland in 1939 by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, as dictated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, underscores the complexity of historical events.

Putin Urges U.S. to Halt Military Aid to Ukraine

In the interview, Putin expressed  frustration over Ukraine’s hesitancy to reach a ceasefire agreement during talks in Istanbul in April 2022.

He noted  that Ukraine withdrew from negotiations once Russian troops pulled back from near Kyiv. Putin suggested that Ukraine should contemplate reversing this decision, highlighting the toll of ongoing mobilization and internal strife. He remarked on the pressing domestic issues facing the U.S., implying that negotiation with Russia would be more beneficial.

Putin emphasized  Russia’s determination to defend its interests while urging for diplomatic dialogue to address the current situation.

During the interview, initially posted on Carlson Tucker’s website  before being released on X, Putin repeatedly forecasted an end to the conflict through diplomatic channels. However, he asserted that this outcome depended on the United States ceasing its military assistance to Ukraine and persuading Ukrainian leaders to engage in negotiations.

Putin emphasized the need for Ukraine’s leadership to halt military activities and participate in talks. He highlighted the ongoing mobilization and internal issues within Ukraine, suggesting that these factors would eventually lead to a negotiated agreement.

EU’s $54 Billion Aid Deal for Ukraine: Key Details Revealed

EU leaders have reached a significant agreement to establish a 50-billion-euro fund aimed at supporting Kyiv against Moscow and addressing Ukraine’s looming financial crisis.

Unpacking the Aid Package:

Initially met with opposition from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the deal faced hurdles until Orban reversed  his stance.

Navigating Negotiations:

Europe’s influential leaders played strategic roles to sway Orban’s position. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni  of Italy, sharing ideological similarities with Orban, played a crucial role in securing the agreement.

Acknowledging EU Support:

While Ukrainian officials expressed gratitude for the EU’s financial assistance, President Volodymyr Zelensky hinted  at concerns regarding future support from the United States.

A Strategic Move:

Orban’s stance on aid to Ukraine reflects his broader political strategy of positioning himself  as a leader within a populist and nativist pan-European movement.

Unmatched Impact of $60 Bn Defense Appropriation

Recently, Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general commented the possibility of the U.S. ceasing military help to Ukrain by saying :

“This is not charity; it is in our own security interest. It matters for European security and it matters for American security.”

According to American officials, there is currently no prospect on the horizon that could rival the potency of a new $60 billion congressional appropriation. This funding would facilitate the acquisition of enhanced air defenses, increased tank and missile reserves, and a substantial influx of ammunition.

Additionally, officials emphasize  the symbolic significance of America scaling back its support at this juncture, suggesting profound implications if such a decision were to be made.

Should the United States withdraw its financial backing for the conflict, critical military provisions such as air defense against regular missile and drone attacks on urban areas and vital infrastructure, such as the electric grid, would be compromised. Furthermore, an economic collapse resulting from this withdrawal would abruptly halt a two-year endeavor to sustain a fledgling, albeit imperfect, democracy.

 The Usage of Crypto In the Ongoing Russia-Ukraine War

Since the onset of the Russian invasion, cryptocurrencies have played a crucial role in supporting Ukraine while also inadvertently contributing to funding Moscow’s war efforts.

Cryptocurrencies are currently experiencing significant challenges, ranging from the collapse of investment bubbles to allegations of criminal fraud involving figures like CZ Zhao or Sam Bankman-Fried. Additionally, they face criticism for their role in facilitating illicit transactions.

Following the full-scale Russian invasion  in February 2022, Ukraine faced severe financial turmoil, including bank runs, currency market halts, and a sharp devaluation of the Ukrainian hryvnia . In response, Kyiv sought immediate financial assistance through digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether, leveraging social media to share wallet addresses.

This strategy proved effective, propelling Ukraine to the fifth position on Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index  by 2023. The Ukrainian government successfully secured $225 million in cryptocurrencies  and $190,000 worth of Ethereum-based non-fungible tokens through donations, with a significant portion allocated for humanitarian aid and military purposes.

The conflict accelerated cryptocurrency adoption in both Russia and Ukraine, prompting Ukraine to legalize  crypto accounts in March 2022, just one month after the invasion. Despite their contributions, cryptocurrency aid remains modest compared to traditional financial assistance, and concerns persist over the potential misuse of crypto funds.

Blood Money? Pro-Russia Hacks & Neo-Nazis Exploit Crypto for War

Since its establishment in 2021, the pro-Russian cybercriminal group KillNet  has been utilizing cryptocurrency for fundraising. Additionally, Russian hacker groups such as NoName057(16)  are offering cryptocurrency rewards for successful cyberattacks. Moreover, the Novorossia Aid Coordinating Center has effectively raised  millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to procure ammunition, armor, and surveillance drones.

Cryptocurrency’s association with Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary group Rusich  highlights its involvement in extortion, where bereaved families are coerced into Bitcoin payments in exchange for information on deceased relatives’ locations.

Despite these activities, experts suggest that Russia faces challenges in utilizing cryptocurrency on a large scale to evade Western sanctions due to potential liquidity issues. However, Ukraine appears to be leveraging crypto more effectively, with private crypto fundraising for pro-Ukrainian causes outpacing Russian counterparts significantly.

The future trajectory of crypto utilization in the Russia-Ukraine conflict remains uncertain. While Western aid to Ukraine is decreasing, crypto donations are dropping, whereas Russia’s crypto donations are on the rise. Cryptocurrency has undoubtedly played a significant role in the conflict, but it is not a panacea for either side.

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