Seemingly unfazed by the outrage his comments on Fox Business Channel have caused, the former US general who thinks the only solution to the Ukraine conflict is to “start killing Russians” has defended his stance, again speaking to Fox.
Robert H. Scales, the retired United States Army major general whose outburst was aired by Fox on Tuesday, did not have to justify his comments as such, as he was invited for a cozy conversation with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren to jokingly discuss the reaction to his remarks.
Responding to the news that the Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal probe into his statements on charges of public calls for starting an aggressive war made in the media, and that his remarks violated article 20 of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that bans any propaganda of war and instigation of discrimination, hatred or violence, Scales shrugged it off by branding it “a Russian form of war.”
“It’s the Russia version of the First Amendment – five years in prison if you say something that makes [Russian President] Vladimir Putin angry,” Scales told Fox News.
The only thing that appeared to bother the military analyst is that he is not going to try any vodka or borsch in Russia due to the criminal investigation.
“I’m not concerned at all, I just kind of wish I could take a vacation in Russia but I can guarantee, that’s not going to happen,” he said.
Scales was seemingly surprised by the fact that his words reached the Russians at all: “I got emails today from people in Russia I never heard of before. I didn’t know Fox News was watched in Russia.”
In the end, he insisted that everything he told Fox was “the truth.”
“Fox is not Vladimir Putin’s favorite network, because as you saw me on the clip you ran, we’re trying to tell the truth about what’s going on in places like Ukraine and places like Iran,” the former major general said.
According to him, “we all know that sanctions don’t work, negotiations don’t work, we can’t push the red ‘reset’ button, and the bottom line is, only military action by the Ukrainians that we support will turn the tide.”
In the new interview, uploaded by Fox News on Friday, Scales used a slightly milder rhetoric than in his previous appearance – which, however, was partly repeated on air before the conversation. Earlier, he alleged that “the only way the United States can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is start killing Russians…killing so many Russians that even Putin’s media can’t hide the fact that Russians are returning to their motherland in body bags.”
Washington has failed to provide any proof of the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine – which Moscow categorically denies – except for a handful of fuzzy satellite images of alleged Russian hardware that the Russian Foreign Ministry has branded “fake.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich earlier condemned Scales’ statements, calling them “Russophobic” and stressing that “the tone of the rampant anti-Russian propaganda is being set by Washington officials.”
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed that Washington is sending “some $75 million of additional non-lethal assistance” to Kiev, including drones and armored Humvees. The US also announced earlier in March that it was planning to send about 300 military advisors to train the Ukrainian army from March through October.
It comes as a fragile ceasefire has settled in eastern Ukraine and some of America’s NATO allies – notably Germany and France – have spoken out against arming the Ukrainians with Western weaponry.
The civil war in Ukraine’s southeast began in April 2014 after Kiev sent its military to the area, as locals refused to recognize the new coup-imposed authorities in the capital. The fighting has seen over 6,000 killed and nearly 15,000 injured, according to the UN Human Rights Office.