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Gates ‘not optimistic’ about Ukraine solutions

March 5, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he’s “not optimistic” about a quick solution to the rift between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

Gates tells CBS European countries apparently don’t have any appetite for strong economic sanctions against President Vladimir Putin in reprisal for Moscow’s intervention in Crimea.

The Republican onetime CIA chief says Putin “knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s trying to re-establish Russian influence and a measure of control over the former states of the Soviet Union.”

Gates says Obama has handled the crisis responsibly. But he says, quote, “I think the challenge the president faces is that our allies may not be as willing to go along with these sanctions as they should be.”

Gates says Obama and his aides “have their work cut out for them.”

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