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You're reading: RFE/RL: Tillerson says ‘weak’ US response to Crimea emboldened Russian aggression in Ukraine

WASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state says the United States should have reacted more forcefully to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, including with immediate military assistance, to prevent further Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said in a Jan. 11 confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that President Barack Obama’s administration’s response to the annexation emboldened the Kremlin to back separatists in eastern Ukraine with weapons and soldiers.

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Tillerson like Trump doesn't know what he is talking about when he says, "...Washington should have advised Ukraine to move all available military assets to its eastern border and provide those assets with defensive weapons, U.S. or NATO air surveillance, and intelligence."
There was no real Ukraine military at that time that could have stood against a trained military. The Ukrainian society was plagued with Russian turncoats and any assistance would have only assisted Russia and would have been used against the people. Some would say there are still Russian turncoats....
It wasn't the military that saved the Ukraine from being swallowed by Russia but the sacrifices of the Ukrainian citizens that took up arms to defend their sovereign territory.
What do we know of a democracy when it is delivered on a silver platter to its people compared to those that have bled, and shed sweat and tears for it? The cold hearted truth is that the Ukrainian people have owned up to their democracy sacrificing much, ever increasing its value and importance.
Every inch of Ukrainian freedom is earned with self sacrifice... Hopefully, the Ukraine heeds the same warnings Obama imparted on the US public about the need for citizen to stay engaged in their democratic processes and to walk in the skin of those that are his/her opposition to find understanding.

Agreed. It was also astonishing that considering his former position as a CEO of Exxon, his extensive dealings with the current leadership in the Kremlin as well as time to prepare for his interview with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Tillerson was not sufficiently aware or properly briefed on the military aspects of Russo-Ukrainian affairs. After all, the entire issue of sanctions launched against the Russian Federation was primarily a result of Putin's orchestrated invasions of Crimea and then Eastern Donbas. However, even if Mr. Tillerson was being honest and forthright about his views on America's number one adversary, how could these views be translated into practical actions since his prospective boss, Donald Trump, would appear to be trying to find his way out of the Oort Cloud? These certainly are interesting and very dangerous times.

James, Mr. Tillerson was asked during confirmation hearings what he thought should have been done when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. He was not and is not privy to the disposition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, I can attest that my very good Ukrainian friends in Kyiv and Sumy were shocked that there basically was no army!
I participated in two exercises with Ukrainian military in 2000 and 2004 both times the personnel were motivated and the exercises went well. Of course it has come to light that Yanukovych basically gutted the military.
I would hope that you realize that Mr. Tillerson is espousing a course of action that never crossed the lips of the Obama administration.

As to your last paragraph, you are aware that it was the US warned the Ukraine not to take action in Crimea as Georgia did in its territory. One could only see why, when soldiers and equipment were sent to Eastern Ukraine poor equipped, no provisions, and poorly trained.
It may not be the responsibility of the common man to be privy to the status of ones nations armed forces but other nations typically gauge the abilities of every other nation. Also remember that the Ukraine participated as a NATO ally in actions.... and so her abilities were made very visible to NATO members.

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