The ex-US president believed the situation in the country was ?highly explosive,? according to a declassified letter
Former US president Richard Nixon warned his successor Bill Clinton nearly 30 years ago that Ukraine could plunge into bloody turmoil, while predicting major political changes in Russia, according to a document made available to the public last week.
In a seven-page letter dated March 21, 1994 and cited by the Wall Street Journal, the late president gave his take on the volatile post-Soviet political landscape right after he returned from a trip to Russia and Ukraine.
Nixon described Ukraine as “indispensable” and warned that the situation there was “highly explosive.” “If it is allowed to get out of control, it will make Bosnia look like a PTA garden party,” he said, referring to the 1992-1995 ethnic conflict in the Balkans that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people.
The former president pointed to an “unpredictable” political situation in the country, lamenting that “the Ukrainian parliament… is even worse than the Russian Duma.” He urged Clinton to strengthen the American diplomatic presence in Ukraine and prioritize funding for Kiev.
Nixon also noted that the political clout of then Russian president Boris Yeltsin had “rapidly deteriorated,” adding that “the days of his unquestioned leadership of Russia are numbered.” He also remarked that Yeltsin came to indulge himself in longer drinking bouts and could no longer deliver on his commitments to Western leaders in “an increasingly anti-American environment in the [State] Duma and in the country.”
The former US leader was uncertain who could replace Yeltsin but suggested that Russia’s anti-Western forces could produce a “credible candidate for president.” Yeltsin stepped down in late 1999, with Vladimir Putin taking up the reins.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia rapidly deteriorated in 2014 after a Western-backed coup in Kiev and the onset of hostilities in Donbass. Russia sent troops into the neighboring country on February 24, 2022, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state.
The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
Shortly before the start of the current conflict, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that would never join any Western military bloc. Last September, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia after the holding of referendums.