How Trump Gamed Ukraine: The Payoff For Putin
From delayed aid to rigged 'peace' deals, the Trump legacy helped set Kyiv up for the kill
Frank Snepp, a former top CIA analyst, now a Peabody-Award winning journalist, specializes in national security issues. His CIA memoir, Decent Interval, triggered a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Yesterday, in Part One of this essay, I explored how Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, while top advisers to Donald Trump, conceived two backdoor takeover schemes for Ukraine, ready-made for Vladimir Putin, that have come back to haunt. These plans envision a Russia-controlled enclave in eastern Ukraine which bears an eerie similarity to what Putin is now trying to establish militarily. The hidden inspiration behind Manafort’s scenario was a shadowy business associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, identified by U.S. intelligence authorities as a well-placed Russian spy.
Now in Part Two, I examine what happened to these backdoor gambits, their current relevance, and how Trump, having failed to make them work initially, tried to compensate Putin by weakening Ukraine’s military defenses.
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