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Putin’s Crimean gamble: Russia, Ukraine, and the new Cold War
Moscow has been harassing commercial ships bound for Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov for months...The attack on naval vessels now opens a new front in Russia’s four-year aggression against Ukraine, which includes the ongoing land war in Ukraine's east and the occupation of Crimea.
President [Trump]'s reticence ahead of [a potential] meeting with Putin is misguided...What Trump is signaling now by staying silent is that...he's actually a weak president, which, from the Russian perspective, is the best thing they can hope for.
[On Russia, Ukraine, and energy issues] A 'somewhat bigger issue' than Nord Stream 2 is that the extra revenues [are] flowing back to Russia while the Russian state engages in mischief.
[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.