After losing a key ally in his quest to reassert Russian dominance over eastern Europe, could Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine? Retiring U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul repeatedly refused to rule it out, noting that “things here remain very tense” and there’s been a “lot of very heated rhetoric” over this weekend’s revolution. McCaul spoke to CNN’s Jake Tapper, who began by highlighting comments from National Security Advisor Susan Rice calling any possible invasion “a grave mistake.” “Mr. Ambassador, how likely do you think it is that Russia would send troops in,” Tapper asked, “especially considering the fears of Ukrainian unrest spreading across the border?” The diplomat’s response wasn’t exactly reassuring. “I can tell you that things here remain very tense, in what government officials are saying about what’s happening in Ukraine,” he began. “On the television channels you’re seeing a lot of heated rhetoric because of what they call their ‘special relationship’ with Ukraine, especially those regions in the east.” Reports on Monday indicate that Russia is moving a large contingent of warships to their base in southern Ukraine, and has begun issuing passports to Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens in the southern region of Crimea. The country reacted similarity in the run-up to invading the Caucasus nation of Georgia in 2008.
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