[Trump] didn't say one word about Ukraine and he had to be briefed on this stuff. The only person to say that the United States says the annexation of Crimea wasn't legal and disagrees with Russia was the president of Russia. The overall contrast [with Trump's criticisms of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and the EU earlier in the trip] coupled with Trump's inability to say Russia had done anything to contribute to the downturn of US-Russia relations, either way it's scary. Either he forgot there's a problem or he wasn't willing. He would have had no problem listing his grievances against Germany, but against Putin, he's not capable of saying anything.
Ukraine's population is only 17 percent ethnically Russian. Putin always mangled this fact, claiming that 17 million Ukrainians were ethnic Russians, which would equate to 37 percent of the population. Russia's aggression appears to be erasing the dividing line.... One unintended consequence of the conflict is [a new] sense of Ukrainian unity.
The Russian regime has defined the struggle in Ukraine as part of an existential battle against American imperialism ... American provision of arms would lend credence to that view and increase the Russian government’s freedom of action at home.
As the Russians deplete their existing oil fields...they're looking offshore, they're looking up into the north in the Arctic area, the northern parts of Russia — and there's significant potential there. And so they want to bring fields up there online as they draw down and deplete existing fields.
The United States and Europe do not have a way to directly affect the calculations of separatists in eastern Ukraine, so the target has to be Moscow. What you want to do is press the Russians, first and foremost, to cut the supply of weapons that is going into eastern Ukraine and is sustaining this conflict, and then get Moscow to press the separatists to stop fighting.