But she cautioned that the Russian leader had given no indication that he was planning to end the war in Ukraine.
In the first reaction from a Biden administration official to Putin’s speech, Thomas Greenfield noted to CNN that Putin did not use his remarks to announce a withdrawal from Ukraine — which would have been welcomed by the United States — suggesting Putin’s war. I will continue.
“There was no reason for (Putin) to declare victory or declare war, which he has already been fighting for more than two months,” said Thomas Greenfield.
“His efforts in Ukraine were unsuccessful,” she added. “He couldn’t go to Ukraine, put them on their knees in a few days and made them surrender,” he added.
In a separate interview with CNN’s “Connect the World” on Monday, US Ambassador to NATO Julian Smith said Putin’s speech was “unsurprising” and “completely detached from reality.”
“It is sad that on this day, on Victory Day, aggression and oppression are celebrated at the same time,” she added.
‘The conflict is not over’
Putin’s speech provided few details about how Russia plans to move forward in Ukraine. It came after days of speculation that the Russian leader would use the event to formally declare war on Ukraine, or order a mass mobilization of Russian forces to launch a war that has now stretched into its third month, with heavy casualties for Russia.
Although Putin has not announced his alleged escalation plans, Thomas Greenfield noted that “the conflict is far from over, for sure.”
“He did not announce the withdrawal. He did not announce a deal with the Ukrainians,” she told CNN. “So I think and appreciate all of us that this could be a long-term struggle that could go on for additional months.”
Moreover, it would be very difficult to say that the United States “welcomes” Putin’s comments on Monday, Thomas Greenfield told CNN, because the “unreasonable war on the Ukrainian people” continues.
“So what we see as a positive sign is that Putin withdraws his forces from Ukraine and ends this unreasonable war,” she said.
Thomas Greenfield, who was in Brussels for a major conference in support of Syria, said Moscow’s appointment of “the butcher of Syria” Alexander Dvornikov to lead the Russian offensive in Ukraine was “just another example of Russian brutality, Russia’s lack of awareness of humanity, human rights violations and atrocities they committed while they We are ready to continue committing it in Ukraine.”
“It just shows the world that there are no limits, as far as the Russians are concerned, to their willingness to use every tool in order to bring down the Ukrainian people,” she told CNN.
Thomas Greenfield acknowledged that the fact that Dvornikov oversaw Russian forces accused of atrocities in Syria and was still in charge of commanding forces accused of war crimes in Ukraine “is certainly something the world will have to address moving forward.”
“We cannot continue to allow individuals like this person to carry out these actions and they can fully expect to be held accountable,” she said, noting that the United States is working with Ukraine, the International Criminal Court and the International Court. Justice “to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”
Significantly changed behavior
Thomas Greenfield is among the Biden administration officials who have had the most interaction with Russian officials in the aftermath of the war due to their seat on the United Nations Security Council.
She told CNN that the behavior of the Russian diplomats she works with in New York has changed “absolutely” since Russia began its war in Ukraine, and that it seems “uncomfortable” in “the way they act, the behavior.”
She said she sees her Russian counterpart appearing on the UN Security Council less frequently than before the war – now he often sends his deputy or experts in his place.
“Since the first day, February 24, when we were sitting in an emergency meeting of the Security Council and the Russians were president of the Security Council, we saw their behavior changed dramatically in the council,” Thomas Greenfield said, adding that she believes the Russians at the meeting were “surprised by the attack” that evening that He launched the Russian war in Ukraine.
Thomas Greenfield said Russian diplomats at the United Nations “certainly read” prepared statements.
“We know and anticipate when they will respond to the things we say, but I doubt everything is set up for them and written,” she said.
Thomas Greenfield also told CNN her Ukrainian counterpart at the United Nations that the Russians are stealing grain from Ukraine, and although the United States has not confirmed the details, “there is some evidence that Russia, not only attacked farmers’ fields, they took equipment, but they also removed grain from silos and took those grains to Russia.”
“I definitely think it’s credible,” she said.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said last week that an estimated 400,000 tons of grain had so far been stolen.
CNN’s Tim Lister and Sanyo Filippov contributed to this report.
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