Donald Trump Leaves Door Open To U.S. Recognizing Russia’s Annexation Of Crimea
On Friday, Trump said to the press, “We are going to have to see,” when asked if the U.S. would accept Russia’s claim on the territory it seized from Ukraine in 2014. “I’ll talk to him about everything,” Trump told reporters. “We’re going to be talking about Ukraine, we’re going to be talking about Syria, we’ll be talking about elections, and we don’t want anybody tampering with elections,” he added.
At the G7 summit earlier this month, Trump mentioned that Russia had invested heavily in Crimea, declining to criticize Russia for annexing its neighbor. Also at the summit, Trump called for Russia to be reinstated into the group, which was formerly the G8. Russia was expelled after the annexation of Crimea. In the interview, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for the issue saying, “President Obama allowed that to happen which is very unfortunate.” He added, “It was during President Obama’s term in office.”
Russia’s reunification with Crimea in 2014 is viewed by the West as an “annexation,” though the peninsula overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. The move triggered a series of sanctions from Western allies.
Trump’s comment runs counter to the position of the U.S. Congress and majority of American politicians. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was one of the first to react in a series of tweets:
What seriously? Trump said that “We’re going to have see” regarding recognizing Russia’s unlawful annexation of Crimea? https://t.co/Ea85h4dvBY
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 29, 2018
Republicans were outraged when Obama couldn’t deter Putin from annexing Crimea, but many now silent when Trump considers endorsing annexation. Your silence says volumes about your principles and “strategic thinking” concerning American national interests. https://t.co/RCeGacSGaS
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) June 30, 2018
European leaders are also sticking to their position on Crimea — that Russia will not be readmitted to the club after its invasion of Ukraine.