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Former Bush official: Putin ‘seems to be scaring people in the White House’ [VIDEO]

Elliot Abrams, the former deputy national security advisor under the Bush administration, said he was “disappointed” that Russian President Vladimir Putin “seems to be scaring people in the White House” through his brinksmanship over Ukraine.

Abrams spoke to Fox News’ Jenna Lee about the diplomatic repercussions of the crisis in Ukraine, which entered a dangerous new phase this week as Russian troops tightened their grip on Crimea and amassed in huge numbers on Ukraine’s eastern border.

The Obama administration has promised a tough response, but reports claim that the White House is preparing for a Russian backlash if the West punishes Putin for his aggression.

“They’re afraid, I think, that any sanctions we impose may lead Putin to hurt some American companies that are invested in Russia, and maybe that he would go further into eastern Ukraine with troops,” he explained.

“Putin is trying to scare us,” he said, “and I’m actually unhappy — disappointed — that he seems to be succeeding. Not in the State Department, but he seems to be scaring people in the White House.”

Abrams claimed that America’s massive economy and larger population means we have little to fear should Russia decide to retaliate. “For us to be afraid of him economically is really quite bizarre,” he said.

“American credibility in the whole world — in Asia, with China, in the Middle East, in Europe — can be destroyed if the Russians commit this kind of aggression and we don’t even impose sanctions,” he later explained.

“I hope that Kerry is telling [Russian foreign minister] Lavrov today, ‘Look, if you push into eastern Ukraine the Ukrainians are going to fight, and we are going to be giving them some military assistance,” he concluded. “I think we should be making the Russians a little bit afraid of us, not just vice-versa.”

[h/t Free Beacon]

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