Background Briefing: February 23, 2022


Ukraine Calls Up Reservists as Putin Moves Forces Into Donbas

We begin with Ukraine calling up reservists as Russia moves troops and tanks into the enclave occupied by their proxies in the Donbas following Putin’s orders and his declaration of Russian sovereignty over Ukraine’s two eastern provinces Luhansk and Donetsk. Joining us to discuss whether claiming the rest of Ukrainian territory beyond the line of control means that a shooting war will necessarily break out is Steven Pifer, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council. In addition to Kyiv, he has had postings in London, Moscow, Geneva and Warsaw and is the author of a number of books including The Eagle and the Trident: U.S.—Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times and Averting Crisis in Ukraine.


Will Putin Cross the Line of Control and Provoke a Shooting War With Ukraine?

Then we examine whether Putin will slice off what he can in the east without a full scale war against Ukraine, attacking it from three sides, and speak with Daniel Treisman, a professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. A leading specialist on the politics and economics of post-communist Russia, he is the author of a number of books on Russia including The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia and Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century. We will discuss his article at CNN, “Putin isn’t likely to stop here.”


Will Rudy Giuliani Give up Others Except Trump to the January 6 Committee?

Then finally we look into reports that Rudy Giuliani is negotiating with the January 6 committee to give testimony implicating others in the attempt to derail the certification of Biden’s victory short of revealing his conversations with Trump which he claims are covered by attorney-client privilege even though Giuliani has been disbarred. Joining us is Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who is an expert on white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion. He spent fourteen years as a staff attorney with the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been a consultant to the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, and served as the chair of the experts group on international asset recovery.