Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson gave a forceful answer to Sen. Ben Cardin’s question on how he would have advised President Barack Obama concerning Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“I would have recommended that the Ukraine take all its military assets it had available, put them on that eastern border, provide those assets with defensive weapons that are necessary just to defend themselves, announce that the U.S. is going to provide them intelligence and that either NATO or U.S. will provide air surveillance over that border to monitor any movements,” Tillerson said.
“I think what Russian leadership would have understood is a powerful response that indicated a, yes, you took the Crimea, but this stops right here,” he continued.
Tillerson’s answer is a strong indictment of the Obama administration’s response at the time. Obama condemned the annexation and instituted sanctions, which seemingly had little effect in deterring Russia’s behavior.
In fact, Russia followed up the annexation by surreptitiously invading eastern Ukraine, and continues to ignore its obligations under various international agreements.
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