Former President Barack Obama took the time to share his thoughts on Russia’s war in Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin, using his own personal experience in office to say the ex-KGB officer hasn’t changed.

In an excerpt from an upcoming interview with the TODAY Show released on Tuesday, Obama was questioned about his thoughts on the war as well as his assessment of his former global rival. Obama described Putin as always “ruthless” at home and abroad, but said the choice to launch a war in Ukraine was a sign of recklessness.

“Putin has always been ruthless against his own people, as well as others,” Obama told host Al Roker. "[But] “what we’ve seen with the invasion of Ukraine is him being reckless in a way that you might not have anticipated eight, 10 years ago. The danger was always there."

Obama’s read of Putin has tracked with assessments from other world leaders like France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who noted that his Russian counterpart has changed considerably in recent years.

Putin, with U.S. intelligence officials and outside analysts, has been in isolation for the better part of two years to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. This, they suggest, may have left him more insulated as many of his own aides struggled to get important facetime with him while a narrow group of advisers likely fed his most hawkish instincts.

But Obama shared a slightly different view, arguing instead that Putin’s aggrieved and antagonistic posture has always been there.

“He has always been somebody who’s wrapped up in this twisted, distorted sense of grievance and ethnic nationalism,” the former president explained. “That part of Putin, I think, has always been there.”

Asked whether he had any regrets in how he handled Putin when he first invaded Ukraine in 2014, Obama demurred on an affirmative answer. He offered praise for President Joe Biden’s handling of Ukraine, a task he delegated to Biden when he was serving as his vice president, but Obama said the circumstances of the two situations are different.

These remarks come five days after another set of remarks Obama made at an event in Chicago where he also spoke about Russia and Putin. During an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama repeated some of the same views but admitted the choice to attack Ukraine was something he did not expect.

"I don't know that the person I knew is the same as the person who is leading this charge," Obama said of Putin. "For him to bet the farm in this way, I would not have necessarily predicted this five years ago."

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