What does the US's Crimea Declaration mean?
Russia has reacted critically to a US declaration on the annexed Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula. The US has stressed in its Crimea Declaration that it refuses to acknowledge Russia's annexation of Crimea. For commentators in Russia and Ukraine the declaration is a direct consequence of the Helsinki summit.
Ukraine between hope and fear
The statement leaves Ukrayinska Pravda with divided feelings:
“On the one hand one can breathe a sigh of relief: the Crimea Declaration has stressed that there has been no change to Washington's official position on the status of Crimea. This is particularly important after Trump's statements in Helsinki. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry even asked the US for clarification. ... The Crimea Declaration is a specific response to these questions and concerns. On the other hand, the Declaration also entails potential risks for Ukraine. The US gives to understand that it has no influence over the de facto annexation of Crimea, and that the fate - and the status - of the peninsula do not in principle pose an obstacle to improving its relations with Moscow.”
Putin went too far with Trump
Putin's success in Helsinki provoked a strong reaction from the US and led to a defeat with regard to Crimea, journalist Arkadi Dubnov explains in a blog entry on Echo of Moscow:
“If Putin hadn't scored such an overwhelming victory against Trump ten days ago he could perhaps now be negotiating conditions for the recognition of the Crimean blitzkrieg with the US. ... But this chance is now a thing of the past. Putin's best judo trick - using his opponents' weaknesses - has suffered a tragic geopolitical setback, meaning we can forget the suspension of the Crimea sanctions imposed on Russia for another half a century. In short, Vladimir, you should have known better how to dose your strength. Because false friends shy away from such relationships. And hey presto: Donald no longer wants to meet up with you again this autumn.”