West should do more before “Putin kills a million people,” McMaster says

H.R. McMaster on NATO summit

Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on NATO summit 07: 09

Former White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster hopes President Biden and European leaders, who are meeting in Brussels on Thursday, find ways to ramp up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin before the number of innocent Ukrainians killed in the war reaches an unthinkable level.

If Russian forces continue to bombard population centers in Ukraine, they could kill a million people and force about 10 million others to flee their country, McMaster said Thursday on “CBS Mornings. “

“So I think what’s really important, and I hope this is what’s happening in Brussels right now, is: let’s do right now what we would do after Putin kills a million people,” the retired lieutenant general said.

More than 10 million Ukrainians, or nearly a quarter of the population, have been displaced since Russia invaded their country last month, a United Nations official said this week. Some 3.5 million of them have fled to other countries, according to the U.N.

McMaster, who is also a foreign policy and national security contributor for CBS News, called the situation “a humanitarian catastrophe” and warned Putin could go even further if he’s not stopped.

“It seems like we’re in 1939, when Poland was under assault,” McMaster said.

“Our objectives ought to be [to] ensure Vladimir Putin fails because if he doesn’t fail in Ukraine, this isn’t the end of this,” he said.

Despite the growing death toll, McMaster said he believes Ukraine could “absolutely” win the war even without NATO support, partly because Russia has “already failed” their original goal.

“They failed in terms of their initial objectives, to try to subjugate all of Ukraine. McMaster stated that they didn’t possess the necessary forces and have shown a great deal of military incompetence.

“They’ve fallen back on a pretty simple task, which is just to rubble cities, to bombard cities and to inflict casualties on innocent civilians,” he said.


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