Pompeo says US will never accept Russian claims on Crimea, Ukraine
In a bid to ease confusion stirred by President Trump, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Wednesday declared a firm rejection of Russiaâs claims on Ukraine and Crimea, and demanded respect for their âterritorial integrity.â
Pompeo, ahead of what promised to be tough scrutiny during testimony to a Senate panel, issued a âCrimea Declarationâ designed to put to rest ambiguity over the issue caused by some of Trumpâs recent statements and his much-criticized, friendly meeting last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Advertisement
In their public appearance after the Helsinki meeting, Trump refused to condemn Putinâs 2014 attack on Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.
But Pompeo on Wednesday said the United States was adamant in âits refusal to recognize the Kremlinâs claims of sovereigntyâ over land seized illegally .
He called on Russia âto end its occupation of Crimeaâ and respect Ukraineâs borders.
The declaration seemed to be a preemptive strike before Pompeo went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to answer numerous questions swirling around Trumpâs handling of foreign policy.
The questions also likely will cover Trumpâs meeting last month in Singapore with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, to discuss that countryâs arsenal of nuclear weapons.
In both cases, Trump took the unusual tack of sitting down with experienced, wily adversaries without advisors or note-takers. That has led to unverifiable speculation over any agreements that might have been made. In the Putin case, Russia has controlled the public versions of what was discussed by releasing its own statements characterizing the talks.
Pompeo, in recent public appearances, has said the Helsinki summit achi eved many things, but he has not specified what.
It was a meeting that âI think the world will have benefited from when history is written,â he told an audience in California earlier this week, again without details.
Pentagon officials have been struggling to find out, for example, whether Trump and Putin agreed to a U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria, something Moscow has claimed.
Senators say they are worried about anything Trump may have conceded to Russia, given his apparent affinity for Putin and Putinâs ability to manipulate inexperienced world leaders.
Trumpâs performance in a joint news conference with Putin after the summit was widely panned by both Democrats and Republicans.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who chairs the committee that Pompeo is scheduled to appear before Wednesday, said that Trump presented the United States as a âpushoverâ and that the Helsinki event was a âsad d ayâ in American history.Advertisement
Corkerâs Democratic counterpart on the committee, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, on Tuesday launched a bipartisan effort to place additional economic sanctions on Russia, something Trump has repeatedly resisted. He described Trumpâs Helsinki performance as an âincoherent and appallingly self-serving circusâ that undermined U.S. democracy.
Trump has publicly doubted the extent to which Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election despite evidence of the meddling. That has colored much of his positive posture toward Putin â" and given ammunition to his critics who say he is weak before Moscow.
Trump said he offered an invitation to Putin to visit Washington in the fall, ahead of the midterm election that U.S. intelligence officials say Moscow already is attempting to skew. Senate and House leaders, however, have said that inviting Putin is a bad idea, and that Putin will no t be asked to speak to Congress.
Pompeo is a former member of Congress from Kansas and has appeared cool and collected, if not always forthcoming, in numerous past command appearances before his former colleagues.Source: Google News Ukraine | Netizen 24 Ukraine