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Jon Huntsman pessimistic about Putin and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine

Mar 17, 2022, 4:02 PM
jon huntsman jr. is pictured...
FILE: Jon Huntsman Jr. answers a question during a Deseret News, KSL editorial board meeting In Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman shared his thoughts on the Russian invasion in Ukraine. Huntsman served as the U.S. ambassador in Moscow for two years. 

He told a group at the Economic Club of Minnesota last week that Putin is a master of escalation. 

“He doesn’t de-escalate,” Huntsman said. “He went into Georgia in 2008, no one did a damn thing. He went into Crimea in 2015—probing, testing—no one did a thing. He went into Syria—crossed our red lines even—no one did a thing. He went into Donbas, Donetsk and Luhansk.”

He remembered a time when he sat across from Putin and the president told him his country lost 70 million people in the last century.  

“How about yours?” Huntsman said Putin asked during the meeting. “So he looks at you across the table and says don’t count on your sanctions having an impact. We can get around them. We can get by effectively.”

He also spoke positively about the people of Russia. He said that we should be thinking about extending whatever we can to help the people of Russia.

“People are fed up with corruption,” Huntsman said. “So I’m putting my bets behind the people of Russia.”

Related: Utah lawmakers moved by calls from Ukrainian president for more help, but still hesitant about enforcing a no-fly zone

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Jon Huntsman pessimistic about Putin and Russia’s invasion in Ukraine