(Hromadske Radio) I’m Marta Dyczok for Hromadske Radio in Kyiv. Last Sunday US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump made even more waves than usual. In an ABC TV interview he suggested that he might ‘look at’ recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and that he, meaning Russian President Putin, was not in Ukraine. Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, war continues, and appears to be escalating, but is no longer making international headlines.
To speak about these issues we have with us in studio Olexiy Haran, Professor of Political Science, National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and the Head of Research, Democratic Initiatives Foundation. And joining us from Prague via skype is Brian Whitmore, Senior Russia Analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. He is the author of The Power Vertical Blog and host of The Power Vertical Podcast, both of which focus on Russian affairs. Thank you both for joining us.
I’d like to start with Professor Haran. You know that last Sunday Donald Trump, said, “the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.” He also said that Russian president Putin is not in Ukraine, and when corrected by journalist George Stephanopoulos, “Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Trump said: “OK – well, he’s there in a certain way. But I’m not there. You have Obama there. 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.” Seemingly blaming Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea. What did you make of this? What does mean for Ukraine?
Haran: Well first of all its one of many statements by Trump regarding Mexicans, Muslims, transatlantic partnerships, ability or inability of NATO to defend other countries. So he has already many statements, how can I put it diplomatically, which are not really correct. But definitely what he said about Crimea, this is a shock for Ukrainians. Because it shows that either Trump does not understand international relations, he doesn’t know what already happened in Crimea, or he’s very cynical. He knows but he doesn’t want to recognize it. And there was an article about his councillor Manafort, who was previously councillor to Yanukovych, former president of Ukraine, who was very corrupt, a person who wanted to become a dictator, and was finally ousted as a result of the massive Maidan protests in Ukraine. And now Manafort is advising Trump. There was an article in the New York Times about that. And definitely again, this is a shocking statement. And I would say that it’s in a lot of Ukrainian media, it’s discussed by experts. So again, I think this is not wise, this is a very diplomatic expression, not wise. And again I think it demonstrates that Trump simply doesn’t grasp international relations and also international obligations of the United States. And the importance of Eastern Europe in general for American security. […]
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