Yes, Mr. Trump, the Russians are in Ukraine. They’re occupying Crimea, and supporting “rebel” groups in eastern Ukraine. [HuffPo] More distressing still is baffling inarticulateness which came after Mr. Trump was reminded that the Russians were already in Ukraine:
“Asked about the scrubbing of pro-Ukrainian language from the Republican platform, Trump offered up a word salad in which he seemed unaware that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been meddling in Ukrainian politics for years.
“[Putin’s] not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said. (1)
Stephanopoulos pushed back, reminding Trump that Putin’s “already there, isn’t he?” Trump quickly changed the topic to Obama bashing.
“Okay — well, he’s there in a certain way. (2) But I’m not there. You have Obama there,” Trump said. “And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this. In the meantime, he’s going away. He takes Crimea.” (3) [ThinkProg]
(1) The Russians are obviously already in Ukraine, and are currently building up forces along the border (again).
“Kremlin is supposedly to deploy three more brigades near the Ukrainian border. The Russian Federation is actively regrouping its two armies near the border with Ukraine and new divisions are being formed, according to the representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency.
“The 1st Tank Army, which is stationed in Moscow region, is being built up, as well as the 20th Army with Headquarters in Voronezh. Three new divisions are being created. The plans of the Russian leadership are changing,” told the representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine Vadym Skibitskiy.” (emphasis in original) [Ukraine Today, July 26, 2016]
Skibitskiy further commented that the three brigades formerly deployed along the border with Ukraine have now turned into three divisions.
(2) “He’s there in a certain way?” Well, yes, if “certain way” means occupying Crimea, supporting eastern pro-Russian rebels against the Ukrainian government and moving in like the proverbial brother-in-law who takes over the couch and then the living room. Liquidating status and changing place names.
July 28, 2016: “Russia liquidates the federal district status of the annexed Crimea.”
July 30, 2016: “U.S. tech giant Google has reinstated existing Soviet-era place names on online maps of Russia-annexed Crimea after it angered Moscow by changing them to correspond with names that Ukraine hopes to adopt in future under its “decommunization” law.”
(3) “He’s going away.” Certainly not if the Russians are building up units like the 1st Tank Army and the Russian army units based in Voronezh. Putin is not going away any time soon, but he would like the Sanctions imposed in March and April 2014, April 2014, and the third round of sanctions imposed from April 2014 to the present to go away. Putin would really like it if the EU sanctions extended on December 12, 2015 to July 31, 2016 went away.
A door prize to anyone who can figure out what this means, which might be perilously close to “I can see Russia from my house:”
“And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this.”
Ah yes, THIS from the man who suggested he would seriously consider not supporting Article 5 of the NATO agreement – one for all and all for one. Yes, that self-same article 5 that was invoked by NATO after we were attacked on September 11, 2001. The Lithuanians certainly don’t find Mr. Trump’s bombast comforting – a large segment of the Lithuanian population remember all too vividly what the Russians did to them when they asserted their independence in 1991. [WaPo]
Mr. Trump obviously isn’t listening to people like Erika Verberyte, Lithuanian diplomat and foreign policy expert: “Almost every family in Lithuania had someone killed or deported by KGB. I was 19 and a student at Vilnius University during the events of Jan.13, 1991, when we rallied to stand up to Soviet tanks.” [WaPo]
The question is will Mr. Trump stand up to the Russian Tanks?