"It was only a matter of time before Russia's war with Ukraine": Clinton recounts conversation with Putin in 2011

Lilia RagutskaWorld
Bill Clinton says he has known about the inevitability of Russia's invasion of Ukraine since 2011

Former US President Bill Clinton has said that Russia's war against Ukraine is inevitable and only a matter of time. According to him, this realisation came to him after a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2011.

Back then, when he met with Clinton in Davos, Switzerland, Putin revealed that he did not agree with his predecessor Boris Yeltsin's recognition of Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine and was "not obliged" to comply with Russia's commitments under the Budapest Memorandum. Clinton told journalists about this conversation in New York during a joint speech with his wife Hillary, the Financial Times reports.

According to the newspaper, Clinton recalled a conversation with Putin in 2011, when the Russian dictator told him that he disagreed with the commitments Russia had made under the Budapest Memorandum. Then, in the early 1990s, the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, signed an agreement with the United States that Russia would respect Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and borders in exchange for Kyiv giving up the world's third largest nuclear arsenal.

"Vladimir Putin told me in 2011 - three years before he took Crimea - that he did not agree with the agreement I had made with Boris Yeltsin. He said: "...I don't agree with it. I don't support it. And I'm not obliged to do it". And from that day on, I knew it was only a matter of time," said Bill Clinton.

During the speech, he and his wife, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, called on Western countries to increase military assistance to Ukraine. According to the Clintons, the Ukrainian army is fully capable of defeating Russia if it has enough weapons and ammunition.

At the same time, insufficient assistance will only encourage further expansion not only by Putin but also by Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to Hillary Clinton, it was only Russia's failures on the battlefield that forced China to postpone plans for an armed offensive against Taiwan.

"Xi saw that. And I think that before the Russian invasion, there was a high chance that he would invade Taiwan within two to three years. I think that plan has been postponed," she said.

Hillary Clinton is convinced that Putin is seeking to strike at the democratic world and create a new Russian empire.

"[Putin] is fighting what he sees as a just struggle to undermine Western democracy and to restore, as far as possible, the Russian Empire. That's why he's not going to stop," she said.

Earlier, Bill Clinton said that he regretted convincing Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in 1994. He is confident that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Kyiv still had nuclear deterrents.

In January 1994, US President Bill Clinton signed a trilateral agreement with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk on the transfer of nuclear weapons to Russia that had remained in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Later that year, the United States joined the agreement, which included Russia's commitment to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

In early 2014, the Russian Federation began to flagrantly violate its obligations by occupying Crimea and subsequently launching a hybrid war against Ukraine in the Donbas.

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