Trump questioned why allies opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea: report
President Trump reportedly questioned the reasoning behind NATO’s opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and appeared to defend Russia’s explanation for the move during conversations with world leaders at the Group of Seven summit last weekend.
Two diplomatic sources told BuzzFeed News that Trump told world leaders over dinner that Crimea was part of Russia because most of its population speaks the Russian language, adding that the president appeared to question why world leaders had sided with Ukraine over Russia.
“Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” the president said, according to one source.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on BuzzFeed’s reporting.
Trump made headlines and sparked criticism from Congress at the G-7 summit in Canada last weekend when he called for Russia to be reinstated to the group. Russia’s membership from what was then the Group of Eight was suspended in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.
“This used to be the G-8, not the G-7,” Trump said Saturday. “Something happened a while ago where Russia is no longer in.”
During a later interview with Fox News, Trump doubled down on his comments, pointing out that he could ask Russia’s Vladimir Putin to withdraw from Crimea if the nation was readmitted to the G-7.
Last weekend’s summit concluded with Trump refusing to join a communiqué traditionally signed by every nation in the group and publicly rebuking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tariffs.
“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Trump tweeted on Saturday following the summit.