Ambassador Soderberg: Russia Attack On Ukraine “Horrifically Tragic”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has rattled the world this week, and Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, an island summer resident, called the unprovoked attack “horrifically tragic.” 

Ambassador Soderberg

Ambassador Soderberg, who served in former President Bill Clinton’s administration as Ambassador to the United Nations and as the third-ranking official on Clinton’s National Security Council, spoke with WOKV in Florida on Thursday. She said the invasion was “an unprecedented violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty” and that the endgame at this point was unclear. But she assailed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his actions in bringing the world to the edge of a wider conflict. 

“Fabricated provocations, fabricated stories, Putin and his cronies are going to pay a very, very steep price,” Ambassador Soderberg said from Kosovo, where she serves as the National Democratic Institute’s senior resident director. 

She suggested a measure that President Joe Biden ultimately stopped short of doing later in the day when he announced significant new sanctions on Russia:: cut the country off from the SWIFT banking system

“The phones are ringing off the hook in D.C. and across Europe to see how we can impose the next step of sanctions which would be to cut off the access of Russia to the SWIFT banking system, kick them out of the western banking system,” Ambassador Soderberg said. “Their stock market has already tanked, and the costs to Putin are going to be extraordinarily high, unprecedented. This will not stand and they’re going to pay an enormous price.”

Soderberg’s ascension to Ambassador to the United Nations was a high point in an already distinguished career in civil service. After serving as the Foreign Policy Director during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Soderberg was appointed to Staff Director of the National Security Council. When Clinton appointed her as Alternative Representative to the United Nations as a Presidential Appointee, she was given the rank of Ambassador. For four years, Soderberg sat on the UN Security Council directly next to Russia’s Sergey Lavrov, who was a central figure in the Trump/ Russia controversy.

Ambassador Soderberg and President Clinton

Sanctions will be painful for Putin and his allies, she said, but they will likely not deter him from taking the capital Kiev if that is his goal. 

“The west can increasingly tighten sanctions, they can cut off the energy supplies, energy exports, cut off the banking, freeze the assets of cronies around Putin, and we can go after their children and families and continue to make this very very painful,” she said. “There’s lots we can do to increase sanctions, but it doesn’t mean he’ll back off. The Ukrainians will fight. They’re vastly outnumbered, so you’re going to see casualties on all sides, so it’s’ just horrifically tragic.”

More from Jason Graziadei

Daiva Salon Opens In Joe’s Barber Shop

Joe’s Barber Shop on Pleasant Street is under new management, as island...
Read More