Trump should condemn the recent Russian incursions — preferably via Twitter.
In the past few days, renewed fighting has broken out in southeastern Ukraine. It’s Donald Trump’s second major foreign-policy test as president. (The first was last weekend’s U.S. Special Operations raid against al-Qaeda.)
This escalation is not surprising. For weeks, Ukrainian forces have been strengthening their positions around Russia’s separatist enclave in Ukraine. Fearful that Trump might accept Putin’s annexation of Ukrainian territory as part of some misconceived deal, Ukraine sought to show its teeth. The Russians, however, have not sat idle. In a clear escalation since Trump’s initial phone call with Putin, pro-Russian separatists and their Russian military allies have pushed five miles north of Donetsk city, toward the Ukraine-held city of Avdiivka.
The timing of Trump’s phone call is probably not coincidental. Perhaps Putin is escalating because he believes that Trump has not yet formulated a strategy for dealing with him. Always the opportunist, the Russian leader has no qualms about rolling the dice. But Putin’s escalation may not be intended as a test of Trump. He might have another goal.
Since June 2015, I’ve believed that Putin intends to carve out an area of southeastern Ukraine to include the city of Mariupol. Taking Mariupol would give Putin control of contiguous territory right down to the Sea of Azov. But Mariupol is also the endpoint of Ukraine’s North-South H-20 highway and a junction of southern Ukraine’s East-West E-58 highway.Read the rest from Tim Rogan HERE and follow links to related stories below:
Is Putin Already Testing Trump In Ukraine?
UN Ambassador Haley hits Russia hard on Ukraine
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