“Reckless” in talking about Russia’s defeat, says the former chancellor of the Soviet Union

Russia has “great firepower” and it is reckless to talk about the country’s defeat, according to a former economic adviser to the Soviet Union.

Jeffrey Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University, said the United States appears to believe it can defeat Russia militarily, and that the West supports Ukraine in its efforts to drive Russia out.

“With this view, Ukraine has decided not to continue the negotiations that were underway” despite the progress of talks at the end of March, he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday. Instead, “Ukraine changed the tune and said its goal now is to defeat Russia.”

“What that means is an escalation of war, an escalation of global risks, an escalation of the economic fallout, and a missed opportunity to find a way out of this conflict as it was already taking shape,” Sachs said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week that he does not expect Ukraine peace negotiations to take place in the near future.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry and the White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, which was sent after office hours.

I think the stakes are very high and there is a lot of naivety right now…

Jeffrey Sachs

Former Economic Adviser to the Soviet Union

– huge danger

There is no way out of “clear American war aims” at this point, Sachs said, and this is a dangerous situation.

“I’ve lived through decades of reckless US foreign policy, and American bravery, and I’m afraid we’ll go back to it again,” he said.This does not mean condoning the Russian invasion.”

“I think the stakes are very high and there is a lot of naivety at the moment and Ukraine is convinced of it.”

The professor said there could be a lot of destruction, loss of life and “a tremendous danger to the whole world”, including in the form of economic fallout.

Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University said that Russia has “great firepower” and it is reckless to talk about the country’s defeat.

Tian Bing | China News Service | Getty Images

He added that Finland’s expected bid to join NATO makes it difficult to reach a negotiated outcome, and also puts NATO and Russia “on the edge of the knife.”

Not everyone agrees.

Michal Baranovsky of the German Marshall Fund said that a possible NATO expansion in the Nordic countries reduces the chance of conflict with Russia.

Alternatively, if countries like Finland and Sweden are not part of the alliance, Russia is likely to face them, he told CNBC’s Capital Connection on Friday.

Bringing Sweden and Finland [into NATO] “It makes our alliances safer, and the likelihood of a military confrontation with Russia is reduced, although it is clear that Russia, of course, will not like this,” said Baranovsky, a senior colleague.

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