Fareed speaks with former U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
Do you believe that Vladimir Putin really could actually, in some way, invade Eastern Ukraine at some point?
Well, the situation in Eastern Ukraine right now is quite volatile, and it's difficult to predict – even from Putin's perspective – as to where this is going to go.
What I do think is happening is this: I think that the Russian government, led by Putin, is engaged in a destabilization effort, currently, in Ukraine. I think that the Russian view here is that a destabilized Ukraine is superior to a stable, successful Ukraine that's oriented to the West. And I think you'll see them continue to use the leverage that they have to try to destabilize the situation.
And I think the job of the United States and the West is support, politically and economically, the Ukrainian government, to have the elections take place in May and to move forward and to build a successful Ukraine. A difficult task given the fact that I think that Putin and his team and the Russians are engaged in an express effort to destabilize, through a variety of covert operations
Anything about this surprise you? You spent a lot of time with President Putin, to then hear him say, you know, bald-faced, there were no Russian troops involved, I don't know who these guys with black masks are?
I think it is unusual for a leader of a country to engage in bald-faced lying. I think it's an unusual thing to do, frankly. And it really does obviously hurt his credibility. And I think that's one of the reasons that you've had some of the surprising tough reactions you've had from Europe, for example.