Trump warms the climate for a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine

“Today Putin-puppet Trump condemned ‘corrupt’ Ukraine, ordered US withdrawal in Syria, cancelled Open Skies.”

A woman holds a sign depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump during a protest outside the White House, Tuesday, July 17, 2018, in Washington. This is the second day in a row the group has held a protest following President Donald Trump's meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Pulling out of the Open Skies treaty may blind some aspects of monitoring Russian militarization of the Ukrainian conflict, as Trump does more of Putin’s bidding.

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Some Ukrainians have been expecting a Russian invasion since independence in 1991. Others have done so only since 2004, when Ukrainians launched the Orange Revolution that kept Putin’s man in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych, from becoming president. And most have expected Russian interference since 2014, when protests led to the ousting of then-president Yanukovych. Putin responded with an undeclared war that led to Ukraine’s loss of Crimea and eastern Donbas — along with thousands of deaths.

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Volodymyr Zelensky, who’s rocketed to fame thanks to the support of Poroshenko’s oligarch rival, Igor Kolomoyskyi, and the television exposure he’s received from playing an average Joe who becomes Ukraine’s reformist president.

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…if Putin starts a “quick little war,” all bets are off. Ukrainians would fight fiercely, and the outcome would be uncertain, but the best-case scenario would be a return to a stalemate after thousands have died after a possible Russian occupation and guerrilla warfare by Ukrainian partisans. 

www.ozy.com/…

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Just so many spooks.

A little known U.S.-based attorney quietly poured six figures into foreign influence operations for President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, hoping to be rewarded with a job in his administration, foreign agent records identified by OpenSecrets show.

The new Foreign Agent Registration Act records reveal previously unreported meetings with Trump administration officials and details of a six-figure lobbying campaign promoting Zelensky’s interests in the U.S. during the leadup to his election and now-infamous phone call with President Donald Trump.

The attorney, Marcus Cohen, claims his advice focused on “interactions with the U.S. government” in an “effort to offer advice to a potential new administration in the Ukraine” on issues such as “anti-corruption efforts.” Trump used similar language to push back against calls for impeachment after he reportedly pressured Zelensky to investigate his potential 2020 presidential election opponent and former Vice President Joe Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Cohen’s foreign agent registration follows a request by the Justice Department, the FARA records show, as first noted by public relations outlet O’Dwyer’s. He has previously operated under the radar with little paper trail. Cohen previously said he voluntarily helped Zelensky “out of good will” after meeting him in Kyiv during the presidential campaign earlier this year, though Zelensky has vehemently denied any links to Cohen and told RFE/RL he did not recall the meeting.

www.opensecrets.org/…

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