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Don’t Underestimate Putin’s Threat – by Deborah Levine

Originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press

Ukrainian-born Comedian Yakov Smirnoff jokingly said Russia’s secret police, the KGB, stood for Kiss Goodbye Your Butt. That was decades before another comedian, Volodymyr Zelensky, became Ukraine’s president. But Zelensky knows there’s nothing funny about Russia’s annexation of the eastern part of his country. Fortunately, we have helped guard against further Russian encroachment. So what was Trump thinking in using our aid as a pawn in this political chess game?

The Russians have never been muted in their aggressive global reach. From Vietnam to Cuba, the United States and the former Soviet Union wrestled in a Cold War. As the Soviet Union, Russian invasions included Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and what became the communist republic of Eastern Germany. A relentless dictatorship from czarist times to the present, the number of people who tried to escape Russian rule are legendary.

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