Elliott Abrams: Obama, Putin Phone Calls Are a Mistake

Senior Fellow for the Council of Foreign Relations Elliott Abrams gave his take on the developing crisis in Ukraine on Newsmax TV.

Abrams told host Steve Malzberg the principal problem with President Obama's dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin is that the Russian leader does not see any real costs for destabilizing Ukraine. Obama ought to implement tougher economic sanctions such that the Russian economy suffers, Abrams said. 

With regards to President Obama's series of phone calls with Putin, Abrams blasted them as inappropriate given Russia's current bellicosity. "The mistake is these are the kinds of calls you have with friendly leaders. In Britain, in France, in Canada. He should have a one minute conversation with Putin, saying ‘you do this, you’re going to pay.’ That’s all he needs to say. But unfortunately of course, we’re not making him pay," he said.  

The CFR fellow concluded he does not believe Putin plans to invade Ukraine, but rather to continue destabilizing the country such that the eastern region falls under his influence and thus provides Russia de facto veto power over Kiev.