Psaki suggests Putin’s isolation during pandemic could be at play as lawmakers question his sanity

Ukraine-Russia peace talk signals Putin ‘bit off more than he can chew’: Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Putin has his own delusional rendering of history.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s isolation during the pandemic could be affecting his decision-making as he pushes on with his deadly invasion of Ukraine. 

Lawmakers have increasingly questioned the state of Putin’s mental health following not only his decision to launch a full-fledged invasion into Ukraine but an address he gave suggesting his military objectives exceed that of Kyiv. 

In this image made from video released by the Russian Presidential Press Service, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressees the nation in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. 
(Russian Presidential Press Service via AP)

“The speech he gave last week…was somebody who was not only justifying the invasion of a sovereign country but clearly had ambitions beyond that,” Psaki told ABC’s “This Week” anchorGeorge Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio took to Twitter this week to question Putin’s sensibility and said, “I wish I could share more, but for now I can say it’s pretty obvious to many that something is off with Putin.”

“He has always been a killer, but his problem now is different and significant. It would be a mistake to assume this Putin would react the same way he would have 5 years ago,” he added

Psaki said she would not comment on Putin’s mental stability but said it has become clear the Kremlin’s leader is operating under different international rules.

“One of the mistakes we probably all make is looking at this through the prism of global norms and what the global community believes is behavior that people should operate through as leaders in the world,” she said. “That is not how he sees the world.

“He’s obviously been quite isolated during COVID,” Psaki added. “But I will tell you, certainly the rhetoric, the actions, the justification that he’s making for his actions are certainly deeply concerning to us.”

Ukrainian forces have fended off Russian troops for four days despite the significant military buildup Moscow amassed in the lead-up to its invasion this week.

On 25 February 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine, a girl looks at the crater left by an explosion in front of an apartment building which was heavily damaged during ongoing military operations.
(UNICEF)

Senior defense officials said Saturday that more than 50 percent of the 150,000 troops stationed along Ukraine’s border have invaded the country.

But Russia has thus far been unable to gain air superiority or take total control of any Ukrainian city.

The U.S. and its Western allies have levied severe sanctions on not only Russian banks and businesses but against Putin and senior Russian leadership. 

Ukrainian service members are seen at the site of a fighting with Russian raiding group in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the morning of February 26, 2022,
(SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Top NATO allies like Germany have relinquished previous reservations about extreme reactive measures like removing Russia from the SWIFT international banking system and Psaki on Saturday said 80 percent of Russia’s financial sector has been targeted by sanctions. 

“The sanctions that we announced yesterday are on par – put Russia on par – with Iran, cutting them off from a banking system with the global community,” Psaki said. “This makes it very difficult for President Putin and the Russian government not only to do business but also to help fund a greater expansion of their military.”

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