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    Forces in US Push for Standoff With Russia – Ex-CIA Agent

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    Powerful forces in the United States are pushing for a standoff with Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent and US State Department employee, told the RT news channel Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – Powerful forces in the United States are pushing for a standoff with Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent and US State Department employee, told the RT news channel Wednesday.

    “Now there is a very strong element in the United States which is pushing for really almost a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine and they haven’t really thought through it,” said Johnson, a co-author of a memorandum to US President Barack Obama calling for a peaceful settlement of Ukrainian conflict.

    “When they talk about arming the dissidents or arming folks opposing Russia in the Ukraine, they don’t appreciate the possibility of the escalation that that can create,” Johnson said.

    The former CIA analyst underlined the danger of the current situation.

    “We tend to try to portray these things in a way that doesn’t really take into account all the dynamics that are involved. And I think it’s really dangerous,” he said.

    On Sunday, nine former American agents from the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) movement signed a memorandum addressed to President Obama. They asked the US leader to take immediate measures to de-escalate the Ukrainian conflict.

    The intelligence veterans urged Obama to announce that Ukraine should not be incorporated in NATO and in return offer Kiev “considerable regional autonomy domestically and neutrality in foreign policy,” taking Finland as a role model.

    The second step proposed by the VIPS recommends Obama organize a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as soon as possible to reestablish mutual trusts and discuss possible ways of resolving the Ukrainian crisis.

    Harvard-educated professor Francis Boyle, a US-based expert on Russia, told RIA Novosti Thursday that NATO is using the Ukrainian crisis as a smoke screen for a war plan and the US has already decided to permanently station troops in Eastern Europe.

    NATO has repeatedly blamed Russia for the escalation of tensions in Ukraine and building up arms and troops on the country’s border. The alliance has already used the crisis to justify an expansion of its military forces near Russian borders, bumping up the number of air patrol missions in Eastern Europe.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Moscow believes the tensions that have “ripened” in Ukrainian society were used by Western countries to advance their own interests and called on the US and EU to contribute to nationwide dialogue in Ukraine instead of further aggravating the situation.

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