Actions speak louder than words. Given that our media is incapable of covering the former as it obsesses over the latter in it’s breathless “reporting” of the Trump administration’s words, here are just a few examples of various actions taken against the Russians that you probably haven’t heard about.
This FSB sponsored cyberattack, which lasted from 2014 to September 2016, was one of the largest data breaches in history. The breach involved the theft of vast amounts of credit card data and other financial information, as well as personal details on individuals of high interest to the Russian government such as journalists, U.S. officials and U.S. and foreign corporate executives and employees, including a senior officer of a major U.S. airline and even a Nevada gaming official.
In December 2017, new Russia-related sanctions were announced under the Sergei Magnitsky and Global Magnitsky programs. Also in December 2017, the Administration imposed export controls against two Russian companies that were helping Russia develop missiles which violate the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The Commerce Department punished Russian companies that had provided technology to help develop the missiles which were outlawed by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the United States and then-Soviet Union in 1987.
That pact banned missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, which when deployed on Europe’s periphery were seen as highly destabilizing because they would provide little advance notice of attack — and could carry a nuclear warhead.
The April announcement from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets which designated seven Russian oligarchs and the twelve companies they owned, as well as seventeen senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank, came with the following statement from Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin:
“The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites. The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities. Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilizing activities.”
Furthermore, as Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times notes, Trump has a record of imposing pocketbook penalties on Putin-connected elites, while also sparring with Moscow on the battlefield. He twice has ordered the bombing of chemical weapons owned by Putin ally Bashar Assad of Syria. Last May, Ukraine began receiving U.S. state-of-the-art Javelin anti-tank missiles as well. The administration has now sanctioned a total of one hundred targets in response to Russia’s ongoing occupation of Crimea and aggression in Eastern Ukraine and has designated Russian actors under Iran and North Korea sanctions authorities too. Former President Obama had resisted providing lethal aid in Kiev’s war against Putin-backed separatists while President Trump shows no hesitation in providing increased lethal aid to those in opposition of Putin.
In all, the Trump administration has sanctioned and targeted nearly 200 Russian oligarchs, government officials and organizations and is now set to give Ukraine $200 million more in military aid and has increased funding for the European Deterrence Initiative, providing billions to increase U.S. troop readiness in Europe, deter Russian aggression, and help defend our NATO allies.
So are these the actions of a President who is “Putin’s puppet”?