Andrew Young, the first Black United States ambassador to the United Nations believes that there is a solution to the Ukraine crisis if people are “grown up, and think it through,” but also in an interview with BET.com, wanted to be clear that given his experience in foreign affairs, that Russian president Vladimir Putin is a dangerous character on the world stage.
Young, who served as UN ambassador under former President Jimmy Carter, spoke briefly about his thoughts on the emerging conflict in eastern Europe, which many feel could escalate into war. He said that a reasonable outcome is possible, but it would take “patience, good sense and working with our allies.”
“You see, the world is full of crazy, sick people and Putin is one of them,” explained Young, who was also mayor of Atlanta, a U.S. congressman and a renowned civil rights leader who was groomed by the hands of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “I mean there’s no question that Saddam Hussein was one of them, the kind of people who fight their way and kill their way to power are not to be taken lightly.”
According to U.S. intelligence, Russia is massing forces along the Ukrainian border, in what is being called an imminent attack. Putin, who wants to prevent Ukraine from entering NATO, has recognized separatist forces in breakaway regions and has ordered his military forces into those areas, according to CBS News. A state of emergency has been declared by the Ukrainian government.
President Joe Biden has already said that he believes Putin is planning to invade the country and although he wishes diplomacy would work to alleviate the situation, Biden and other European leaders have announced a series of economic sanctions in response to Russian aggression.
Young, whose focus was largely on global human rights during his tenure from 1977-79, said that the last time he was in Ukraine, it was still part of Russia, which at that point was the U.S.S.R.
“They lost some territories when the Soviet Union broke up. Ukraine spun off, Georgia spun off and Putin is trying to get them back,” said Young. “Well if they don’t want to come back and they don’t seem to want to come back, they have to do something to maintain their independence.
“Now the truth of it is, I thought that Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was prettier than Moscow, it was one of the prettiest parts of the Soviet Union back then and I’d hate to see them destroy it. But there is a solution and we just have to be grown up and think it through and find it.”
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U.S. relations between former President Donald Trump and Putin were far more friendly than they are currently with Biden. In fact, the two met in Helsinki, Finland in 2018, where Trump agreed with Putin’s assertion that Russian intelligence did not interfere in the 2016 elections, despite evidence to the contrary, according to CBS News. He even called Putin “genius” and “savvy” for his moves in the conflict.
Young, however, was critical of Trump, placing him and Putin in the same category.
“They’re both kind of sick,” he said. “And their sickness appears with their policies serving their ego, not necessarily there to serve the benefit of any people. Those kinds of people are dangerous. See, it’s kind of bad because Putin and Trump got along and both of them think that they are supposed to have their way, but that’s just not the way the world operates,” said Young.
“But just like it’s taken a long time in the courts and in congress to bring Trump back in line, it’s going to be a long struggle to deal with Putin.”