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Putin underestimated resistance, now the U.S. is among those preparing for his next move

A U.S. expert on Russia's military and foreign policy says the attack on Ukraine is not going how Russia expected.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A U.S. expert on Russia's military and foreign policy says the attack on Ukraine is not going how Russia expected. He says Vladimir Putin overestimated the support he'd receive and underestimated resistance.

On Tuesday, a government building in Kharkiv was rocked by explosions, killing at least 6 people, and injuring several more.

In Kyiv, Russian forces attacked a television tower killing 5 more. Jeffrey Edmonds, a former military analyst with the CIA, fears this is just the beginning.

“I think going forward, the Russians are going to start to use more heavy-handed techniques, supplying greater combat power…against civilian populations and things of that nature and that's pretty troubling.”

Edmonds, who also served as Director for Russia on the National Security Council, says Russia has lost all credibility. Leaders there stated they had no plans to invade Ukraine, but clearly that wasn't the case.

That said, Edmonds approves of the way U.S. officials are handling the situation - with phased in sanctions that started by hitting their banks and oil industry.

He says, with Putin, you don't want to go too far, too fast and push his back up against a wall.

“You don't want to create a kind of chaotic spiraling escalatory situation where a guy with his hand on nuclear weapons, suddenly feels like he's losing control of the state.”

Edmonds says what Putin really wants is a positive Russian government inside Kyiv, but that's probably not going to happen. And even if it does, Edmonds doubts it will last.

“Russian troops are going to have to stay there and prop this government up indefinitely and so that's a very long and costly process and so I don't really see a viable end game for the Russian leadership.”

The U.S. has made it clear that Russia has a choice: Deescalate the situation and sanctions will be lifted. And while the hope is that Russia will pull out, Edmonds says the U.S. must prepare now for everything.

“We need to be war gaming and thinking about 'ok, if he's going to expand the conflict, how could he do that and how can we best mitigate against it.'”

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