President Donald Trump mocked former President Barack Obama as being weak on Russia and standing by while Moscow illegally annexed…
President Donald Trump mocked former President Barack Obama as being weak on Russia and standing by while Moscow illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
But Russia’s navy recently locked Ukraine out of the Sea of Azov, which Kiev relies on feed its valuable port cities in the country’s east.
Trump’s response so far looks every bit as weak.
Russian President Vladimir “Putin did not respect President Obama,” Trump said in June. “President Obama solves Crimea because President Putin did not respect President Obama, did not respect our country, and did not respect Ukraine.”
4, Russian troops without official uniforms stormed into Crimea and eastern Ukraine, cut power, interfered with electronics and communications, spread fake news, and eventually established control of the strategic peninsula.
The US, under Obama, responded with sanctions, condemnation, and attempts to usher in diplomacy.
But none of that worked. Ukraine, which has dreamed of joining the West as a functioning democracy and as a prospective member of NATO, remains at war to this day with Russian soldiers whose existence Putin still denies.
Ukraine has now been in war for four years against the Russian separatist movement, which has cost it 10,000 civilian lives and left 1.6 million people in the country displaced.
Obama refused to provide lethal aide to Ukraine, a decision that Trump reversed and often touts as a demonstration of his harder line against Russia.
But on Sunday, Russia escalated the war by using its own, marketed navy ships to four on Ukraine’s navy and shut down the entire Sea of Azov to any ship bound for, or coming from, Ukraine.
In doing this, Russia disregarded a 2003 bilateral treaty giving Ukraine and Russia exclusive rights to sail their ships in and out at will.
The fighting also saw six Ukrainian soldiers wounded, and some detained and made to give bizarre-looking confessions to Russian television.
Read more: Russia is moving advanced missiles into Crimea as Ukraine warns it’s under threat of a full-scale war
John Herbst, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, said that Russia sought to take control of the Sea of Azov to choke and destabilize Ukraine’s east on a call with reporters organized by the Atlantic Council.
Ukraine’s president has since called for NATO warships to enter the Sea of Azov. He’s said that Putin intends to take over all of Ukraine as a colony.
Now Ukraine fears a full-scale war and invasion from Russia.
Here’s Trump during his presidential campaign in July 2016:
“[If I become president, Putin is] Not going to go to Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down and you can put it down, you can take it anywhere you want. “
In response, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, vocally condemned the move and called for action.
But no real action has come yet.
NATO has not responded to Ukraine’s calls to send ships. Meanwhile, Russia has blocked Ukraine’s two most important ports on the Azov.
As the Azov is an inland sea, not international waters, and requires both Russian and Ukrainian approval for foreign vessels to legally enter, NATO does not have a straightforward case for entering the sea.
A slew of treaties also keep the US from flooding Ukraine with weapons to fight back against Russia, but Russia has shown little regard for its own treaties in making the land and sea grabs.
Indeed the US and NATO would be in a better place to respond to the Sea of Azov crisis if they had with Russia’s 2014 Crimea annexation with more resolve, but that still does not bother well for Trump’s hypothesis that Putin respects him and note obama
“Crimea was TAKEN at Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?” Trump tweeted in February 2017 .
Trump claims to have with Putin, Russia has effectively taken the Sea of Azov from Kiev’s hands, and Trump looks nowhere close to action.
Trump is expected to meet Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday.