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With the possibility of a return to the White House by former president Donald Trump, top US and European officials are concerned Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue his the invasion of Ukraine at least until the conclusion of the US Presidential elections in November 2024, according to an article from CNN.
Natasha Bertrand, one of the CNN journalists that authored the article, surmised views expressed within it by top Western national security, intelligence and diplomatic officials, in a post to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on 4 August.
The article cited a number of anonymous sources who expressed the view that Putin will continue the invasion of Ukraine until the election because he expects that a change of administration in the US will also bring about a change of US policy regarding Ukraine. A more nativist outlook could erode support for Ukraine, and provide Russia with a more favourable bargaining position.
Similar reports emerged elsewhere on the same day. The New European broadcast a podcast episode on 4 August, with the host Matt d’Ancona revealing two security sources had expressed the same opnion.
The show’s production company Rethink Audio posted a video of the remarks from d’Ancona: “I spoke to a couple of people in the security sources and I said ‘What do you think all this means for Ukraine?’ and they both said ‘Vladimir Putin is trying to run out the clock. He thinks Trump is going to win, and that when he does, he, Putin, will be able to get his way in Ukraine.”
He went on to qualify the statements from his sources: “Look, this is speculative. We all know that intelligence coming out of the Kremlin is not of the greatest, but there’s this absolute clarity that that’s what Putin wants. He’s in for the whole drink, and, you know, if he can hang on in there for 18 months, …Trump will end the alliance of assistance, and once America is out of that, the alliance will collapse. Big stakes.”
President Biden’s administration had already dealt with such suggestions in an interview last month. During a 16 July broadcast of Meet the Press on NBC News, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked about this view directly by the show’s host, Chuck Todd.
“Are you concerned that Vladimir Putin is going to use theAmerican political calendar that he wants to buy time and see what happens in the November 2024 elections?” asked Todd.
“If in fact he is betting on American resolve to falter or fail he is going to continue losing that bet.” responded Sullivan, while referencing the commitment of the US, and US allies within the partnership, to come to the support of Ukraine.