The U.S. needs to have "direct discussions" with Russian President Vladimir Putin because sanctions will do little to thwart Russia's military movements in Ukraine, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Sunday. Russians will continue to support Putin even if the economy slips because of sanctions that have already been inflicted on Moscow and any further sanctions, Feinstein told NBC's Andrea Mitchell in an exclusive interview that aired on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
Putin is "enjoying intensely high favorability in his country," Feinstein said. "The Russians are very brave and very long-suffering, and they will tough out any economic difficulty," she said, adding that a better strategy would be "direct discussions with Vladimir Putin." The Russian president came under criticism Friday when he said the people of Ukraine and Russia were "practically a single nationality." Russian troops are involved in "direct military operations" inside Ukraine, according to NATO, but Russia denies involvement.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt