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Trump Inserts Obama’s Ukraine Policy Into RNC Platform

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Donald Trump’s campaign overruled hawkish members of the RNC platform committee last week, and inserted President Barack Obama’s same muted Ukraine policy into the official RNC platform, Josh Rogin of The Washington Post reports.

Republican national security leaders almost unanimously agree the U.S. should ship lethal defensive aid to the Ukrainian military, to assist in their fight against Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Trump’s campaign changed the language  from calling for “providing lethal defensive weapons” to “appropriate assistance.”

The reluctance to provide lethal aid to Ukraine’s military mimics the exact policy of the Obama administration. Obama has long resisted calls to ship lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, despite near unanimous support of the policy from the Pentagon and European diplomats at the Department of State. Ukraine’s military has requested anti-tank weapons from the U.S. but has currently only received non-lethal aid.

Sen. Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and previously floated Trump vice presidential nominee sharply criticized Obama’s policy in 2015 saying on Twitter, “President Obama should use new authority to arm Ukraine & impose tougher sanctions on Russia.” Former Republican presidential nominee and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain concurred with Corker calling such a position “shameful,” according to the Free Beacon.

Trump’s opposition to lethal aid for Ukraine is a reflection of his general softer view of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin actively sponsors the Ukrainian separatist movement and has deployed Russian troops to fight on their behalf. Trump has embraced Putin as a strong leader, and the Kremlin has indicated it vastly prefers Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump said in 2015 he “would not care that much” if the Ukraine was a member of NATO.

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