The struggle in Ukraine is simply over one yr outdated. There may be widespread discuss of a serious spring offensive from either side. Battle in Europe, as soon as unthinkable, is now the brand new regular. However for one nation on Russia’s northern border, this appears like deja vu.
Like Ukraine, Finland is aware of what it’s prefer to share an extended border with Russia. The Finns have had Vladimir Putin as a neighbor, and so they’ve been performing the identical delicate dance of decoupling beneath his very watchful eye.
Earlier than his posting to Washington, Mikko Hautala was Finland’s ambassador to Russia, the place he met Vladimir Putin extra occasions than he can depend. Hautala occupied his put up in Moscow through the important years following Putin’s first invasion of Ukraine.
Because the struggle started, he’s turn into nicely referred to as the particular person to speak to to know Putin, Russia and the battle in Ukraine.
On this episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host Ryan Lizza talks with Hautala about what People don’t perceive concerning the Russian chief, the implications of the rising alliance between China and Russia, Finland’s accession to NATO, and why he believes the West must massively ramp up its industrial functionality if it needs Ukraine to outlive.