While the Russian troops massed on the border of Ukraine are capable of annexing a third of the country, Putin’s intentions in placing them there are more diplomatic than military, according to former CIA deputy director Michael Morell and former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden.
“I think what he’s trying to do is maximize what he gets out of this diplomatically,” said Morell. The goal? Preventing Ukraine from joining NATO and, most likely, the European Union.
The two told CBS’s Bob Schieffer that the threat of military action is simply Putin’s most powerful diplomatic option. “His tool is that threat, that danger, that presence of forces along the Ukrainian border, so I think we’ll see them there for a long time, which will be troubling and potentially destabilizing,” Hayden said.