Does US recognize Crimea as part of Russia?
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment on the media report, which says that US President Donald Trump told that Crimea is part of Russia.
Sanders said that she is not aware of any comment like that. "I know it’s been reported, but I’m not going to comment on a private conversation I wasn’t a part of — that I don’t have information on,"
Yesterday, Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea belongs to Russia because the peninsula’s residents speak the Russian language, Buzzfeed reported, citing two diplomatic sources. During a G7 dinner on June 8, Trump also called Ukraine one of the most corrupted countries in the world and questioned why the Group of Seven leaders support it.
It was unclear if Trump was joking or signaling a dramatic change in the US administration’s policy, the media outlet said.
The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Trump's statements, cited by BuzzFeed, should not be taken seriously, since as a whole the politician is very inclined to resort to all sorts of rhetoric.
"It should be taken into account that now Russia, as an international policy factor for Western countries, has turned into an instrument of pressure on each other. As if Trump warns: 'If you do not agree with me, I will use Russia against you'," the expert explained.
The political scientist did not regard Trump's statement as a hint of a possible preparation for the future summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin against the backdrop of the recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. "Of course, the US will try to transfer this experience to its relations with Iran and Russia. But we understand that Europe and the US are famous for their powerful rhetoric, but when it comes to business, there can be completely different options. Modern America is a tough lobbyist of its own interests. So it is just a tough political game," the deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University said.
According to him, Trump cannot take a tough stance on the issue of recognizing Crimea as part of Russia now. "It should be taken into account that if Trump recognizes Crimea, then he immediately slides to the level of one of the centers of power. After all, Crimea became part of Russia contrary to the West's desire, for Trump it would mean surrender," the political scientist noted.
The expert added that, nevertheless, Washington's policy under Trump is changing in comparison with the one that existed under the Barack Obama administration. "It is becoming more rigid, more pragmatic. They do not like much of Ukraine's politics. The West needs a success story, the Ukrainian scenario should have be attractive for all other countries. But now it turns out that cooperation with the West leads the country into poverty. There fore, Washington is not satisfied with the politics of modern Kiev," Andrei Suzdaltsev concluded.
The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, expressed opinion that expressed the opinion that Trump's phrase most likely took place. "But it seems to me that it consisted of two parts, and the second part was that it was Barack Obama who gave Crimea and part of Ukraine to Russia. That is, Trump actually blamed the previous president for it," he complained.
According to the expert, the refusal of Sarah Sanders to comment on the pretext that it was a private conversation, and she does not comment on private conversations, is an indirect acknowledgment that such a phrase took place.
"According to this statement, Trump has started preparations for the November midterm elections to the Congress. At the moment, according to public opinion polls, the population speaks in favor of the Democratic Party. And if this attitude of voters persists, then a democratic majority is possible in the chambers of the Congress, which will create difficulties for Trump. So it seems to me that he is pursuing a policy of criticism towards the Democratic Party, especially Obama," the senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences pointed out.
"In any case, Trump's words testify to the growing awareness that Crimea is part of Russia. There is one more thing: the mood of Crimea's recognition as part of Russia is growing rapidly among European politicians. And I think that Trump also may be afraid that the Europeans will independently resolve this issue in order to normalize relations with Russia. Therefore, I think that the US president stresses that he is acting in unison with European leaders and leaders of other countries," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.