Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 21.07.2018
Fears are mounting that at the Helsinki summit Trump made a secret agreement with Putin to betray Ukraine. Putin is crowing about what he thinks is a breakthrough for Russian aggression. Trump is silent about Ukraine. Ukraine is resolute in defence of the homeland, Europe, and the West. Official Washington outside the White House has taken bold steps to help Ukraine and constrain Putin’s War.
Putin says that at the secret meeting at the Helsinki summit he proposed to Trump holding a referendum in eastern Ukraine. He said this was to “resolve the conflict” (a conflict entirely created by Putin, by means of Russia invading Ukraine). Putin also said that details of the “strategic agreements” with Trump would be hidden to avoid a public backlash before a full agreement is signed. The appearance Putin wants to give is that Trump agreed to give up Crimea and Donbas.
Falling in with what Putin said he would do, Trump has been completely silent about Ukraine.
Putin undercut his new offensive against Ukraine at the press conference in Helsinki. Putin was trying to convince a skeptical audience that the status of Ukraine’s territory of Crimea, which is temporarily occupied by Russia, is “settled.” The Russian dictator let slip that “we” – meaning the Russian Federation – conducted the so-called ‘referendum’ which was conducted on 16 March 2014. Putin effectively confessed that the only claim to legitimacy of Russia’s so-called ‘annexation’ of Ukraine’s Crimea was a fake referendum.
Because of the unity and courage of the Ukrainian people, Crimea and Donbas are neither Putin’s to take, nor Trump’s to give.
The Ukrainian government is clear: there will no ‘referendum’ in Donbas. Ukrainian politician Iryna Herashchenko wrote on social media on July 20: “There will be no referendums held at gunpoint, with Russian tanks parked at schools and kindergartens of occupied Donetsk and Luhansk, no referendums organized in territories where Russian propaganda and LifeNews have been brainwashing the population for the past four years, intimidating them by "fascists and junta," no referendums organized by Kremlin puppets in Kremlin-occupied lands.” Iryna Herashchenko is Vice-Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament. She has been instrumental in prisoner swaps with the Russian invaders and their terrorist proxies in Donbas. Iryna Herashchenko pointed out that the Minsk Agreements hold no provisions for a referendum, and Putin has admitted that the so-called ‘referendum’ held in Crimea was conducted by the Russian Federation and not by local residents. Given Putin’s admission of guilt, Iryna Herashchenko called for tightening Russia sanctions.
Trump is doing what he has been told, keeping details of Putin’s moves against Ukraine a secret from his own advisors and from the American intelligence, military, and diplomatic communities. But official Washington is striking back against the occupant of the White House.
Heather Nauert is the spokesperson for the US State Department. On July 20 she sent the following Tweet: “To be clear: The Administration is not considering supporting a referendum in E Ukraine - A ‘referendum’ would have no legitimacy. We continue to support #Minsk agreements for solving the conflict in #Donbas #ukraine @statedept”
On July 20, US Secretary of Defence James Mattis issued a statement, saying “Russia should suffer consequences for its aggressive, destabilizing behaviour and its illegal occupation of Ukraine.” At the same time, the Pentagon released $200 million in new security assistance to Ukraine. The money will go toward counter-artillery radars, vehicles, night vision, communications equipment, and medical equipment.
Ukraine and the parts of the American government that remain loyal to the Constitution must prepare: the Putin-Trump cabal will attempt a third, fake ‘referendum’ in Ukraine. Putin started his war against Ukraine with sham plebiscites in Russian-occupied Crimea and Donbas in 2014. Now, he will commence his fresh military offensive against Ukraine with a third display of political theatre in territory he controls. The West that abides by its civilizational values must be prepared to stop Putin, liberate Crimea and Donbas, and win victory over imperialist Muscovy.