What Will Be Putin's Next Move?


Jay Sekulow

March 9

6 min read

Foreign Policy



We told you yesterday how the Biden Administration placed a ban on imports of Russian oil and gas. These kinds of moves have consequences and can escalate into a global conflict. The question is – what will Russian President Vladimir Putin do next as the world retaliates against his country?

Congressman Mike Waltz (FL-6) who has served in these regions joined Sekulow to offer his assessment on the war in Europe:

Well, two things. One, Putin overestimated his military’s capability and underestimated Zelensky. His plan – he is still executing – which is to cut off the Ukraine army in the East, just around Kyiv. I think he hopes to not have to go into Kyiv and cause the government to collapse and then cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea. . . . My assessment is he does not have the combat power to occupy the entire country, but he can turn it into a landlocked run state with his puppet government. . . . My concern is, this is obviously not going to plan for Putin, and Russia Soviet Doctrine, is they compensate for their lack of ability to conduct precision strikes and maneuver with just pure brute force. They are going to settle and just siege warfare. . . . I fear this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Rep. Waltz explained the impact of the Biden Administration’s move to ban Russian oil and gas:

Well, like most things Biden has done – too little too late, including providing arms that the Ukrainians should have had beforehand when I was out there last year, they were begging for stingers, harpoon anti-ship missiles, and more javelins, and the White House was sitting on them. . . . On the Russian ban, absolutely all for it. Bipartisan support. Congress pushed them in the right direction. The question is what do you replace it with? And the answer is not to replace it with other U.S. adversaries and make us shift our addiction from Russian oil to Iranian and Venezuelan oil.

As Rep. Waltz noted, we’ve learned that the United States is actually considering importing oil from Iran and Venezuela to replace Russian oil. ACLJ Senior Advisor for National Security and Foreign Policy and former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell pointed out the flaws in this strategy: 

Imagine being in a room where the Americans are on one side and Russians on the other and you have a couple of big issues to talk about. One is the Iran deal, and one is Ukraine. You are absolutely going to package your requests to make sure that you don’t ask for too much on one and you switch for something else on the other. The art of diplomacy for the Biden Administration is that consensus matters. It matters that the other side . . . are happy. So, we have been relying on the Europeans and the Russians to carry some of our water and to make the points with the Iranians. Imagine that. We are relying on the Russians for an Iran policy, while also trying to be tough on them because of what they are doing on the offense in Europe. This is a recipe for disaster. And I would not put our current political appointees at the State Department in a position where they have to be tough and represent us because we will fail every single time.

Ric gave his prediction on if Putin will settle for anything short of absolute control of Ukraine:

I think that his pride and his pride of country is on the line. And so, no – I think he said he wants to take over Ukraine, I think that he’s got to move forward with that. Remember he is not a rational actor; we aren’t going to be able to put rational arguments on him. Like oh, you’re under sanctions and your country seems to be in turmoil economically and reputationally. He doesn’t think like that. . . . He doesn’t care about anything other than money and power.

ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has negotiated with Vladimir Putin in the past, also gave his take on if Putin will stop this aggression:

The longer this goes on, the less effective his military proves to be, the more he feels like he was lied to by his team who told him, hey boss, we can knock this out in a week. He will come to see too that the West has united. Good for everyone who stepped up and mostly the Ukrainian people actually defending their own nation in ways that he almost certainly didn’t anticipate. I am sure he is going to be looking for an out. But he knows at this point that there is no way back for Vladimir Putin. He has so much blood on his hands, what he has done, the atrocities that have been committed under his order . . . you cannot imagine him being back in the G7. . . or invited anywhere. . . . For that reason, my sense is he is going to demand an awful lot before he calls off the dogs of war.

Sec. Pompeo summed up what the end goal is going to be:

It looks like his true objective was to gain political control in Ukraine, whether that is with the current leadership, with his guys really pulling all of the strings, or completely new leadership. . . . In the end, what he has wanted for a long time is the capacity to say I have restored the greater Russian Empire, I am now controlling this huge piece of real estate which is Ukraine. . . . I think that is his ultimate objective. He’s going to stay at that until one, he either achieves it, or second, he no longer has a combat force capable of actually delivering the ultimate solution. He is either going to achieve this or a lot of Russia’s soldiers are going to die trying.

We will continue to monitor this escalating situation and provide you with updates as they come.

Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of the implications of President Biden banning Russian oil and gas.

Watch the full broadcast below.

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