MUNICH (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Europe (all times local): 11:20 p.m.
“Vice President Mike Pence has met with the president of Ukraine and assured him of U.S. support. Pence’s office says he “underscored U.S. support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and underlined that the U.S. does not recognize “Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation” of Crimea.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office says during Saturday's meeting in Munich his country "received a powerful signal that the U.S. stands with Ukraine, that Ukraine is among the top priorities for the new U.S. administration."
President Donald Trump's stated aim of improving relations with Russia had raised concerns in Ukraine and elsewhere that he would lift sanctions imposed on Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine.”
“Vice President Mike Pence is reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the security of the Baltic states in a meeting with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Pence met with the leaders on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Pence’s office says the vice president noted the Trump administration’s support for the collective defense of NATO allies and the need of NATO to counter terrorism. Pence’s office says the leaders expressed their concerns over the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine and discussed the need to make progress toward the full implementation of the Minsk agreement to resolve the conflict between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.” (Associated Press)
“Pence's tough line on Russia, calling on Moscow to honour the international peace accords that seek to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, were welcomed by Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Lavrov said after a meeting with his French, German and Ukrainian counterparts that there would be a new ceasefire from Feb. 20. "Know this: the United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which as you know, President Trump believes can be found," Pence said.” (Reuters)
A truly wise-assed thought came to me as I read about these three acting as near spitting images of the emissaries of the Borg Hegemony that preceded them. It was as if they were a trio of Hedley Lamarrs to Trump’s Governor Le Petomane, running the real foreign policy while the oblivious Governor signs what’s put in front of him. Work. Work. Work. Work.
Having gotten that snark out of my system, I'm hoping Pence and the others are just trying to calm the spooked herd of Europeans before Trump can put a new saddle on them. Maybe even Trump now realizes the depth of anti-Russian hysteria here and in Europe and has decided to proceed slowly and slyly in his shock therapy for Europe and his pragmatic outreach to Russia. I'm more concerned with the stepped up aggressive rhetoric towards Iran and the continuing coddling of the Saudis. Those policies seem to enjoy widespread, unapologetic support throughout this Administration, this Congress and the American public. That's going to throw a big wrench into developing a better relationship with Russia. Lavrov appears as exasperated as I am.
Well, it's only been one month and it's been a lot more noise than action in that month. We'll see.