Anxious Ukraine Holds Its Breath Ahead of Trump-Putin Summit

2018/7/11 22:58:35

UBO: Anyone with the most basic knowledge of 20th century history is familiar with the situation in which UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to Munich for meetings with Hitler in September 1938. After that meeting, Chamberlain returned to London waving an agreement with Hitler and blathering on about “peace in our time.” However, it rapidly became clear that the agreement was meaningless, a gossamer veil over a deal in which Chamberlain had thrown Czechoslovakia under the bus. This was not the cause of World War II but certainly was an important signpost on that road. Observing recent developments, it is impossible to avoid comparing what happened in September 1938 and what we may see the next few days, different only in venue and players. We believe it is possible – even probable – that the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit will reach a similar outcome, with Ukraine being thrown under the bus after which Trump will return to Washington, crowing about some great success while Ukraine is left to soldier on with only itself and some European neighbors for support. We sincerely hope we’re wrong but the results of the recent Trump-Kim tour-de-farce in Singapore gives no one much hope for a better Helsinki outcome.


By Christopher Miller for RFE/RL, July 11, 2018 12:19 GMT


KYIV -- Aboard Air Force One on June 29, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested he may consider recognizing Russia's claim to Crimea, which was forcibly annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

"We're going to have to see," Trump told reporters, adding that such a move would be up for discussion when he sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16. "I'll talk to him about everything."

The remarks caused an uproar that reverberated across an anxious Europe fearful that an unpredictable Trump could overturn longstanding U.S. policy and effectively accept the first major land grab on the European continent since the Second World War at his meeting with Putin.

Meanwhile, in Kyiv, the comments were met with a collective gasp -- and the Ukrainian capital has been holding its breath ever since.

Ukraine, now in its fifth year of fighting Russian aggression on fronts both physical and digital, has relied greatly on U.S. diplomatic, financial, and military support that until now has been unwavering and even included lethal Javelin antitank missiles.

In an attempt to put worried minds at ease, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders reiterated Washington's policy on Crimea during a July 3 press briefing.

"We do not recognize Russia's attempt to annex Crimea," Sanders said. "We agree to disagree and the sanctions against Russia remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to the Ukraine."


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