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Trump Admin’s Tough Actions Against Russia

- July 17, 2018

Through Sanctions And Beefing Up NATO, The Trump Admin Has Held Russia Accountable For Hostile Actions


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • The Trump Administration has implemented a wide array of sanctions and other punitive actions against Russia for their destabilizing actions and provocations against the U.S. and its allies.
    • In response to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other malfeasance, the Trump Administration has sanctioned Russian oligarchs and intelligence entities.
    • Throughout 2017 and 2018, the U.S. sanctioned numerous Russian actors for violating non-proliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran and Syria, and supporting North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction.
    • The Trump Administration has issued sanctions against more than one hundred Russian actors and firms for Russia's destabilizing actions in Ukraine and its ongoing occupation of Crimea.
    • In March 2017, in response to Russia's use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, the Trump Administration ordered multiple Russian consulates in the United States closed and expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers.
  • Due to sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, the Russian economy and Russian geo-economic projects have been severely constrained.
    • In 2018, as Russian investors reacted to new sanctions, the Russian Ruble made its biggest fall in over three years, and, as of July 2018, is down nearly nine percent against the dollar.
    • As a part of its sanctions against Russia, the United States has prevented numerous companies from partnering with Russian offshore oil projects, denying these projects access to capital and key resources.
    • The Trump Administration has also opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin's largest geo-economic project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Russia.
  • In the wake of Russian provocations, President Trump has exercised U.S. military power and worked to bolster U.S. allies in Europe.
    • In 2017, President Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine addressing the country's vulnerability to Russian-backed separatists in its eastern provinces.
    • Under the Trump Administration, Russian mercenaries and other pro-Syrian regime forces attacking U.S. troops in Syria were killed.
    • The U.S. has increased troops and its military capability in Eastern Europe and dramatically increased training and drills with its NATO partners.
    • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense increased its spending as part of the European Deterrence Initiative by $1.4 billion dollars.
    • Due to pressure from President Trump, U.S.' NATO allies have increased defense expenditures by five percent.

UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP, THE UNITED STATES HAS IMPLEMENTED SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA AS PUNISHMENT FOR MISCONDUCT

As Punishment For Interference In The 2016 Election And Other Malfeasance, The Trump Administration Has Levied A Series Of Sanctions Against Russia

On August 2, 2017, President Trump Signed The "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act" Into Law. "On August 2, 2017, the President signed into law the 'Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act' (Public Law 115-44) (CAATSA), which among other things, imposes new sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea." (Press Release, "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act," U.S. Department Of Treasury , 8/02/17)

  • This Act Provides For The Sanctioning Of Russia For Activities Such As Cyber Security, Corruption, Human Rights Abuse, Sanctions Evasion, And Arms Transfers To Syria. "The President must submit for congressional review certain proposed actions to terminate or waive sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation. Specified executive order sanctions against Russia shall remain in effect. The President may waive specified cyber- and Ukraine-related sanctions. The bill provides sanctions for activities concerning: (1) cyber security, (2) crude oil projects, (3) financial institutions, (4) corruption, (5) human rights abuses, (6) evasion of sanctions, (7) transactions with Russian defense or intelligence sectors, (8) export pipelines, (9) privatization of state-owned assets by government officials, and (10) arms transfers to Syria." ("H.R. 3364," Congress.gov , Accessed 02/21/18)
  • On October 28, 2017, The U.S. Named 39 Russian Defense And Intelligence Related Entities To Be Subject To Sanctions Under The Law. "The U.S. State Department on Friday named 39 Russian defense- and intelligence-related entities under a new sanctions law, belatedly taking a step to enforce legislation passed overwhelmingly by Congress. The law, which President Donald Trump signed on Aug. 2, requires sanctions on individuals who engage in 'a significant transaction' with the Russian entities." (Warren Strobel, "US Names 39 Russian Entities Under New Sanctions Law," Reuters , 10/28/17)

On March 15, 2018, The U.S. Announced Sanctions Against Five Entities And 19 Individuals In Response To Russia's Attempted Interference In U.S. Elections Through Destabilizing Cyber Activity. "Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five entities and 19 individuals under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as well as Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, 'Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,' as amended, and codified pursuant to CAATSA. 'The Administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,' said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin." (Press Release, "Treasury Sanctions Russian Cyber Actors For Interference With The 2016 U.S. Elections And Malicious Cyber Attacks," U.S. Department Of The Treasury , 3/15/18)

On June 6, 2018, The U.S. Treasury Department Sanctioned Five Russian Entities And Three Russian Individuals For Engaging In Cyber Security Attacks At The Behest Of Russia's Federal Security Service . "Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated five Russian entities and three Russian individuals under Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, 'Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,' as amended, and Section 224 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). One of the designated entities in controlled by and has provided material and technological support to Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), while two others have provided the FSB with material and technological support. OFAC is also designating several entities and individuals for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the three entities that have enabled the FSB." (Press Release, "Treasury Sanctions Russian Federal Security Service Enablers," U.S. Department Of The Treasury , 6/11/18)

In 2017 And 2018, The Trump Administration Issued Several Sanctions Against Russians And Russian-Companies For Their Destabilizing Activities In Ukraine And Occupation Of The Crimean Peninsula

The Trump Administration Has Sanctioned More Than 100 Individuals And Entities "Under Authorities Specific To Ukraine And Russia" For Destabilizing Actions In Ukraine And Occupation Of Crimea. "The Treasury Department noted that it continues to pressure Russia over its ongoing efforts to destabilize Ukraine and occupy Crimea, as well as its 'endemic corruption and human rights abuses.' To date, officials said, the administration has imposed sanctions on more than 100 individuals and entities under authorities specific to Ukraine and Russia." (Ellen Nakashima, "Trump Administration Hits Russian Spies, Trolls With Sanctions Over U.S. Election Interference, Cyberattacks," The Washington Post , 3/15/18)

On June 20, 2017, The Trump Administration Announced Sanctions On 38 Russian Individuals And Firms Over Activities In Ukraine. "The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties are designed to 'maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution.'" ("Russia FM: New US Sanctions Sign Of 'Russo-Phobic Obsession,'" The Associated Press , 6/20/17)

  • The 38 Individuals Sanctioned Were Involved In Efforts To "Knit Crimea And The Breakaway Donbass Region More Closely To Russia." "The 38 individuals and entities newly designated by the Treasury Department were largely involved in efforts to try to knit Crimea and the breakaway Donbass region in eastern Ukraine more closely to Russia. A few were cheerleaders for the efforts." (Alan Rappeport and Neil MacFarquhar, "Trump Imposes New Sanctions On Russia Over Ukraine Incursion," The New York Times , 06/20/17)

On September 29, 2017, The U.S. Announced Tighter Financial Sanctions On Russian Banks And Energy Firms Due To Russia's Continued Interference In Ukraine. "The US Treasury Friday announced tighter financial sanctions on Russian banks and energy firms because of Moscow's continued interference in Ukraine. In a move aimed at making it harder for Russia's top financial institutions and oil and gas companies to raise long-term funding, the Treasury cut the length of maturity of bonds issued by those companies that US individuals and institutions are allowed to trade." ("US Tightens Financial Sanctions On Russian Banks, Energy Firms," AFP , 9/29/17)

On January 27, 2018, The U.S. Announced Sanctions On 21 Russian Individuals And Nine Entities Connected To Russian Projects In The Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula. "The Trump administration announced new sanctions Friday related to Russia's occupation of Crimea and ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine, just days ahead of a congressionally mandated deadline for the implementation a separate, broad array of Russia-related sanctions.In a press release, the Treasury Department said it was designating 21 individuals and nine entities under existing authorities, including Russian government officials and Russian companies connected to projects in the disputed Crimean Peninsula." (Laura Koran, "US Admin Announces Fresh Russia Sanctions, CNN , 1/26/18)

In 2017 And 2018, The Trump Administration Implemented Sanctions Against Russian Actors For Violating Non-Proliferation Laws And Circumventing Sanctions Placed Against North Korea, Iran And Syria

On March 21, 2017, The United States Imposed Sanctions Against 30 Foreign Entities And Individuals And 10 Countries Pursuant To The Iran, North Korea, And Syria Nonproliferation Act. "On March 21st, the United States imposed sanctions against 30 foreign entities and individuals and 10 countries pursuant to the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. These determinations were the result of a periodic review of sanctionable activity, as required under the law." (Press Release, "Senior State Department Officials On Iran, North Korea, And Syria Nonproliferation Act Sanctions," U.S. Department Of State , 3/30/17)

  • Various Entities Including Entities From Russia Were Sanctioned By The United States At This Time. SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: "Okay. The sanctions were actually imposed on March 21st. The press release you're talking about actually came out on March 24th. So the difference is it's just the sanctions go into effect when we actually send the report to the Hill." OPERATOR: "Thank you."QUESTION: "Thanks."SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: "Sorry" SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: "Whether - in the release we talked about 30 foreign entities and individuals in 10 countries. So the entities would be from Burma, China, Eritrea, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, North Korea, and Iran. We can provide you a specific list, but they're also in the Federal Register notice that came out today." (Press Release, "Senior State Department Officials On Iran, North Korea, And Syria Nonproliferation Act Sanctions," U.S. Department Of State , 3/30/17)

On June 1, 2017, The U.S. Introduced Sanctions Against Three Companies, And Six Individuals From Russia And North Korea For Their Support Of North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program . "The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated six entities and three individuals, and identified three entities, in response to North Korea's ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions." (Press Release, "Treasury Sanctions Suppliers Of North Korea's Nuclear And Weapons Proliferation Programs," U.S. Department Of Treasury , 6/1/17)

On August, 22, 2017, The U.S. Treasury Department Sanctioned 10 Companies And Six Individuals From China And Russia That Were Illegally Conducting Business With North Korea. "The Treasury Department on Tuesday placed sanctions on Chinese and Russian individuals and firms that it said had conducted business with North Korea in ways that advanced the country's missile and nuclear weapons program, part of a broad effort by the Trump administration to further isolate the regime. The sanctions against 10 companies and six individuals are designed to disrupt the economic ties that have allowed Pyongyang to continue funding its missile and nuclear program despite strict United Nations sanctions prohibiting it." (Carol Morello and Peter Whoriskey, "U.S. Hits Chinese And Russian Companies, Individuals With Sanctions For Doing Business With North Korea," The Washington Post , 8/22/17)

On December 8, 2017, The United States Levied Sanctions On Russian Companies That Provided Technology To Help Develop A "Banned Cruise Missile" That Would Be Able To Hit Targets From 500 And Up To 5,500 Kilometers Away. "The Trump administration is levying new sanctions on Russia it hopes will force it to comply with a Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty it has violated by deploying a banned cruise missile, according to a senior administration official. The Commerce Department will punish Russian companies that have provided technology to help develop the new weapon, which was outlawed by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the United States and then-Soviet Union in 1987. The 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." (Gregory Hellman, "Trump Approves New Russia Sanctions For Violating Cold War Arms Pact," Politico , 12/8/17)

On January 24, 2018, The U.S. Treasury Department Sanctioned Nine Entities, 16 Individuals, And Six Shipping Companies Including Actors Working In Russia And China On Behalf Of The North Korean Regime. "The Trump administration on Wednesday targeted a swath of illicit actors in China, Russia and elsewhere working on behalf of the North Korean regime. The Treasury Department sanctioned nine entities, 16 individuals with ties to North Korea and six shipping companies and vessels -- the latest move to cripple financial ties that might aid the rogue nation's nuclear weapons program." (Donna Borak, "Treasury Targets North Korea Again, Sanctions Illicit Chinese And Russian Actors," CNN , 1/24/18)

The Trump Administration Has Closed Several Russian Consulates And Annexes And Expelled Numerous Russian Intelligence Officers For Russia's Destabilizing Actions

On August, 31, 2017, The U.S. Ordered Russia To Close Its Consulate In San Francisco And Two Diplomatic Annexes In New York And Washington. "The Trump administration ordered Russia on Thursday to close its consulate in San Francisco and two diplomatic annexes, in New York and Washington, in a carefully calculated riposte to Russia's order that the United States cut its diplomatic staff in Russia." (Mark Landler and Gardiner Harris, "In Retaliation, U.S. Orders Russia To Close Consulate In San Francisco," The New York Times , 8/31/17)

On March 26, 2018, President Trump Expelled 60 Russians From The United States In Response To The Poisoning Of A Former Russian Spy In Britain. "President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States on Monday, adding to a growing cascade of similar actions taken by western allies in response to Russia's alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain." (Katie Rogers and Eileen Sullivan, "Trump And Western Allies Expel Scores Of Russians In Sweeping Rebuke Over U.K. Poisoning," The New York Times , 03/26/18)

  • The Expulsion Order Also Closed The Russian Consulate In Seattle. "The American expulsion order, announced by administration officials, includes 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York, and also closes the Russian consulate in Seattle. The Russians and their families have seven days to leave the United States, according to officials." (Katie Rogers and Eileen Sullivan, "Trump And Western Allies Expel Scores Of Russians In Sweeping Rebuke Over U.K. Poisoning," The New York Times , 03/26/18)
  • The 60 Russians Expelled Were Later Identified As Russian Intelligence Agents, 48 Of Whom Worked At The Russian Embassy In Washington Along With 12 Agents Who Were Posted To The United Nations In New York. "President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats the US identified as intelligence agents and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, the most forceful action Trump has taken against Russia to date. Of those being expelled, 48 of the alleged intelligence agents work at the Russian embassy in Washington and 12 are posted at the United Nations in New York, senior administration officials said." (Jeremy Diamond, Allie Malloy and Angela Dewan, "Trump Expelling 60 Russian Diplomats In Wake Of UK Nerve Agent Attack," CNN , 3/26/18)

THANKS TO UNITED STATES SANCTIONS, THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY HAS TAKEN A HIT

Due To Sanctions Implemented By The Trump Administration, The Russian Economy Has Suffered Severely

Following An April 2018 Round Of Sanctions Administrered By The Trump Administration, The Russian Ruble Made Its "Biggest Daily Fall" In Over Three Years And Stocks In Major Russian Companies Slid. "Russia's ruble suffered its biggest daily fall in over three years on Monday and stocks in major Russian companies also slid, as investors reacted to a new round of U.S. sanctions targeting some of Russia's biggest tycoons." (Polina Ivanova, "Russia's Ruble, Rusal, Sberbank Take Hits As US Sanctions Bite," Reuters , 4/9/18)

As Of July 1, 2018, As A Reaction To U.S. Sanctions And Tightening Monetary Policy, The Russian Ruble Was Down Almost Nine Percent Against The Dollar, "More Than Double The Loss" Of Any Other Ex-Soviet Currency. " After the toll taken by sanctions and tightening U.S. monetary policy, the ruble is now down almost 9 percent against the dollar in 2018, more than double the loss of any other currency in the group. Without the U.S. penalties imposed in April, it would have been as much as 4 percent stronger, according to the Bank of Russia. The ruble traded 0.8 percent weaker in Moscow on Monday." (Andrey Biryukov and Olga Tanas, "Russia Ringfenced As Old Empire's Currencies Thrive," Bloomberg , 7/1/18)

  • Bloomberg Reported That After U.S. Sanctions Russia's Currency "Suffered The Worst Performance In The Fix Six Months Of The Year Among Its 11 Ex-Soviet Peers." "For the first time in half a decade, the Russian currency suffered the worst performance in the first six months of the year among its 11 ex-Soviet peers." (Andrey Biryukov and Olga Tanas, "Russia Ringfenced As Old Empire's Currencies Thrive," Bloomberg , 7/1/18)

According To Russia's Analytical Credit Ratings Agency, As Much As 21 Percent Of The Russian Economy Has Felt The Impact Of Existing Sanctions And Sanctions Have Already "Dented" Russian Household Incomes . "The possibility of more Western sanctions against Moscow is the key risk for the Russian economy, as much as 21 percent of which has already felt the impact of existing sanctions, Russia's Analytical Credit Ratings Agency said in a report Tuesday. Western sanctions are expected to weigh on Russia's oil-dependent economy in the longer run, having dented incomes of Russian households, the Kremlin-backed ACRA said." ("Russia's Rating Agency Says More Sanctions Are Key Economic Risk," Reuters , 7/09/18)

As U.S. Sanctions Continue, Russia Has Borrowed Less Than Half Of What It Aimed To Borrow In The Second Quarter Of 2018. "Russia managed to borrow less than a half of what it aimed to in the second quarter as U.S. sanctions against Moscow and the Bank of Russia's monetary policy disrupted debt issuance plans, finance ministry data showed on Wednesday." ("Russia Misses Second Quarter Borrowing Target As U.S. Sanctions Bite," Reuters , 6/27/18)

Under Its Sanctions, The United States Government Has Prevented And Fined Companies From Partnering On Russian Energy Projects

On October 31, 2017, The U.S. Treasury Banned American Companies And Individuals From Taking Part In Any Russian Artic Offshore Oil Projects That Help Russian Oil Companies Already Facing Sanctions. "The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control on Tuesday published an amendment to sanctions against exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects implemented by Russian companies, including abroad. In particular, the document prohibits helping Russian oil companies that already face sanctions in exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects abroad which are to be initiated after Jan. 29, 2018 and where Russian holdings are 33 percent or more." ("Expanded U.S. Sanctions May Affect Russia's Foreign Expansion In Oil And Gas," Reuters , 11/1/17)

Due To U.S. Sanctions, Russian Energy Giant Gazprom's Ability To Secure Long Term Funding And U.S. Dollars Has Largely Been Blocked. "Russian banks and Russian energy giant Gazprom's ability to secure long term funding in U.S. dollars have also largely been blocked since sanctions were first enacted. Adding more pain, the U.S. and EU also banned exports of services and technology to Russian state oil firms engaged in Arctic and deep-water and unconventional oil and gas exploration and production." (Tim Dais, "Russia Struggles As Sanctions Choke Energy Sector," Oil Price , 3/19/18)

  • Instead, Due To Sanctions And The Inability To Obtain U.S. Funding, Russia Has Been Forced To Turn To Costlier Chinese Funding. "Due to sanctions and the inability for Russian energy companies to obtain funding in U.S. dollars, Russia often has to turn elsewhere for backing, including costlier Chinese funding. Moreover, sanctions have been renewed by both the Obama and now the Trump administration, further complicating Russia's energy project ambitions." (Tim Dais, "Russia Struggles As Sanctions Choke Energy Sector," Oil Price , 3/19/18)

On April 24, 2017, The U.S. Treasury Department Rejected Exxon Mobil's Request For A Sanctions Waiver To Conduct Drilling In Russia With The Russian Firm Rosneft. "The Trump administration delivered a setback to Exxon Mobil on Friday, announcing that it would not grant the oil giant a waiver from sanctions against Russia that would allow drilling in the Black Sea. The decision, reinforcing barriers erected by the United States over Russia's intervention in Ukraine, was another sign that President Trump has been unwilling or unable to improve relations with the Kremlin early in his term, after pledging as a candidate that he would seek a thaw." (Clifford Krauss, "U.S. Rejects Exxon Mobile Bid For Waive On Russia Sanctions," The New York Times , 4/21/17)

  • On July 20, 2017, The Trump Administration Fined Exxon Mobile $2,000,000 Dollars For Violating Sanctions Against Russia. "The feds also determined that Exxon had not voluntarily disclosed the violations, which it said was 'an egregious case' - and leveled the maximum civil penal of $2 million for the breaches. In its statement, Exxon maintained its innocence, saying that it had 'followed clear guidance' from the White House and Treasury Department when it went ahead with the deals with Rosneft that Sechin then countersigned." (Bob Fredericks, "Exxon Mobil fined $2M for violating Russia sanctions," New York Post , 7/20/17)

President Trump Has Also Opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin's "Largest Geo-Economic Project," The Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline

On July 11, 2018, At The NATO Summit, President Donald Trump Criticized Germany For Supporting A Baltic Sea Gas Pipeline That Would Pay Out Billions Of Dollars To Russia. "'When Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia,' Trump said to Stoltenberg. 'We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia. 'We're protecting Germany, we're protecting France, we're protecting all of these countries. And then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they're paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. 'So we're supposed to protect you against Russia and you pay billions of dollars to Russia and I think that's very inappropriate,' Trump said at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Brussels." (Jeff Mason, "Trump Lashes Germany Over Gas Pipeline Deal, Calls It Russia's 'Captive,'" Reuters , 7/12/18)

  • The President's Remarks Referenced The Nord Stream 2 Natural Gas Pipeline Which Would Provide A Pipeline Link From Russia To Germany. "President Donald Trump may have just made Nord Stream 2 a household name. Ahead of a NATO meeting, the president blasted the German government on Wednesday for backing the new natural gas pipeline link from Russia to Germany." (Tom DiChristopher, "Behind Nord Stream 2: The Russia-To-Germany Gas Pipeline That Fueled Trump's Anger At NATO Meeting," CNBC , 7/11/18)

By Opposing The Pipeline President Trump "Seems To [Have] Set Himself Against Putin's Largest Geo-Economic Project." "By opposing the pipeline, perhaps for an amalgam of US commercial and security reasons, he seems to set himself against Putin's largest geo-economic project. (Patrick Wintour, "Germany And Gas Links: Trump Is Not Only One To Ask Questions," The Guardian , 7/11/18)

  • Foreign Affairs : The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Could Generate Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Revenue For The Russian State Oil Company Gazprom. "Although the project would alleviate gas shortages in some of those countries, the added capacity would weaken the position of Ukraine-through which a number of large pipelines now pass-in the European gas market. It is also further dividing the EU between members that favor the project and those that oppose it. What's more, Nord Stream 2 could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Gazprom." (Petr Polak, "The Trouble With Nord Stream 2," Foreign Affairs , 8/23/17)

The View That Nord Stream 2 "Will Make Europe Particularly Dependent On Russian Gas Is Widely Shared By European Politicians, Think Tanks, And Energy Specialists, Including Some In Berlin." "Donald Trump may have used typically emotive - if premeditated - language from the outset at the NATO summit in Brussels to lambast Germany for its willingness to build a gas pipeline, but the US president's view that this will make Europe particularly dependent on Russian gas is widely shared by European politicians, thinktanks and energy specialists, including some in Berlin." (Patrick Wintour, "Germany And Gas Links: Trump Is Not Only One To Ask Questions," The Guardian , 7/11/18)

When Finished, Nord Stream 2 Would Double Russia's Export Volume To Various European Countries, Including Germany Who Is Already Russia's "Biggest Export Market." "Germany is indeed Russia's biggest export market in Europe for gas, with a dependency that may grow further once Nord Stream 2 is finished. The project would roughly double Russia's export volume via the Baltic route that goes through the original Nord Stream pipeline." (Rick Noack, "The Russian Pipeline To Germany That Trump Is So Mad About, Explained," The Washington Post , 7/11/18)

Ukraine And Other Eastern European Countries Fear That Western European Partners Reliant On Russia For Natural Gas Will Be "Less Vocal" To Russian Encroachment On Eastern Europe. "Ukraine and parts of eastern Europe fear their partners to the west may be much less vocal next time if they receive their natural gas through a different set of pipelines, allowing Russia to cut off its unruly neighbors with impunity." (Rick Noack, "The Russian Pipeline To Germany That Trump Is So Mad About, Explained," The Washington Post , 7/11/18)

PRESIDENT TRUMP EXERCISED U.S. MILITARY POWER TO DEFEND OUR ALLIES AND WORKED TO BOLSTER U.S. AND NATO PARTNERS' DEFENSE CAPABILITIES

In 2017, President Trump Approved The Largest Sale Of Lethal Defensive Weapons To Ukraine Since 2014

The Trump Administration Approved The Largest Sale Of Lethal Defensive Weapons To Ukraine Since 2014. "The Trump administration has approved the largest U.S. commercial sale of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine since 2014. The move was heavily supported by top Trump national security Cabinet officials and Congress but may complicate President Trump's stated ambition to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin." (Josh Rogin, "Trump Administration Approves Lethal Arms Sales To Ukraine," The Washington Post , 12/20/17)

These Weapons Addressed Ukrainian Forces' Vulnerability To Russian-Backed Separatists In Two Eastern Provinces. "These weapons address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian-backed separatist movement in two eastern provinces." (Josh Rogin, "Trump Administration Approves Lethal Arms Sales To Ukraine," The Washington Post , 12/20/17)

  • Congress Authorized Such Sales In 2014, But The Obama Administration Never Authorized Large Commercial Or Government Sales In A Moved Perceived As A De Facto Decision Not To Provide Arms Support To The Ukraine Military. "Congress authorized such sales in 2014 in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, but the Obama administration never authorized large commercial or government sales, a move widely seen as a de facto decision not to provide lethal weapons to the Ukraine military." (Josh Rogin, "Trump Administration Approves Lethal Arms Sales To Ukraine," The Washington Post , 12/20/17)

A Senior Administration Official Said President Trump Personally Approved The Decision. " Another senior Trump administration official said that Trump personally approved the decision to allow the issuing of the license after being presented a decision memo by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson." (Josh Rogin, "Trump Administration Approves Lethal Arms Sales To Ukraine," The Washington Post , 12/20/17)

Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko Praised President Trump's Action In An Interview And SaidThat "We Have Full Support, Not Only In The United States Congress, But We Have The Full Support Of The United States Administration." QUESTION: "Let me ask you about your relationship with the United States. Obviously, you know, Canada we are their closest neighbor, biggest trading partner and we have had to work extremely hard to understand the new administration and figure out the relationship. I imagine you have had to work extremely hard to figure out the administration, particular when there is this cloud of Russia." UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER PETRO POROSHENKO: "We have full support, not only in the United States Congress, but we have the full support of the United States Administration." ("Petro Poroshenko On His Relationship With Donald Trump," CBCNews , 09/25/17)

On March 1, 2018, The U.S. State Department Approved A $47 Million Dollar Sale Of Javelin Antitank Missiles And Related Equipment To Ukraine. "The State Department has officially approved a possible $47 million sale of Javelin antitank missiles and related equipment to Ukraine, the Pentagon announced Thursday. The move marks a significant escalation of lethal aid to Ukraine in its ongoing struggles against Russia." (Rebecca Kheel, "US Approves Sale Of 210 Antitank Missiles to Ukraine," The Hill , 3/1/18)

The Sale Would Include 210 Javelin Missiles And 37 Control Launch Units. "The sale announced Thursday would include 210 Javelin missiles and 37 control launch units (CLU), plus two more CLUs as spares. The missiles are coming from U.S. Army stocks and the CLUs are from stocks bought with a fund known as Special Defense Acquisition Fund that allows the State Department to pre-purchase equipment for expected requests." (Rebecca Kheel, "US Approves Sale Of 210 Antitank Missiles to Ukraine," The Hill , 3/1/18)

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency: "This Proposed Sale Will Contribute To The Foreign Policy And National Security Of The United States By Improving The Security Of Ukraine." "'This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of Ukraine,' the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in its official notice. 'The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements. Ukraine will have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces.'" (Rebecca Kheel, "US Approves Sale Of 210 Antitank Missiles to Ukraine," The Hill , 3/1/18)

To Counter Russian Aggression, The U.S. Has Reinforced Its Military Commitment In Europe And Launched Massive Training Exercises With Its NATO Allies

In 2018, The Trump Administration Increased Funding For More U.S. Troops And Hardware In Eastern Europe And Has Bolstered, "Training And Drills With NATO Partners. "In a move that reassured European governments, the Trump administration has opted to increase funding for more U.S. troops and hardware in Eastern Europe and to bolster training and drills with NATO partners." (Dan De Luce, Robbie Gramer and Emily Tamkin, "Trump's Shadow Hangs Over NATO," Foreign Policy , 01/29/18)

In 2018, The Department Of Defense Increased Its Spending By $1.4 Billion Dollars As Part Of The European Deterrence Initiative. "As part of the European Deterrence Initiative, the Defense Department plans to spend $4.8 billion in 2018, an increase of $1.4 billion over fiscal year 2017." (Dan De Luce, Robbie Gramer and Emily Tamkin, "Trump's Shadow Hangs Over NATO," Foreign Policy , 01/29/18)

On March 8, 2018, U.S. Troops Joined With 25 Other Nations To Take Part In Europe's "Largest Artillery Exercise" Since The End Of The Cold War. "It has sounded like a nonstop thunderstorm at this base for the past two weeks, during which the Army has conducted the largest artillery exercise in Europe since the Cold War. More than 3,700 soldiers from 26 nations are participating in Dynamic Front 18 -- the Army's premier multinational artillery drill on the Continent -- almost three times as many participants as last year. The exercise, which began Feb. 23, wraps up on Saturday." (Martin Egnash, "U.S., Allies Conduct Biggest Artillery Event In Europe Since Cold War," Military , 3/8/18)

On July 2, 2018, The U.S. Landed Two Air Force Jets In Estonia, In A Gesture Of Commitment To NATO Allies That Border Russia. "Two of the U.S. Air Force's newest and most advanced jets landed in the Baltic state of Estonia for the first time on Tuesday, a symbolic gesture meant to reinforce the United States' commitment to the defense of NATO allies that border Russia. The visit of the F-35 stealth fighters, which flew from Britain and spent several hours in Estonia, is part of broader U.S. jet pilot training across Europe as the NATO alliance seeks to deter Moscow from any possible incursion in the Baltics." (David Mardiste, "U.S. F35s Fly IntMato Estonia In Show Of NATO Solidarity," Reuters , 7/2/18)

President Trump Has Successfully Encouraged U.S. NATO Allies To Increase Their Expenditures On Defense

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Remains A Bulwark Against Russian Aggression. ​"After the Cold War, military spending was slashed across NATO's membership and some commentators questioned its relevance in the modern world. That changed in 2014 when Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea and allegedly supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. This refocused attention on NATO as a bulwark against perceived Russian aggression." (Alexander Smith, "What Is NATO? And What Do Trump And Russia Think About It?," NBC News , 7/12/18)

President Trump Has Pushed NATO Members To Spend More On Defense Spending So As To Meet Their Commitment To Spend Two Percent Of GDP On Defense. "President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies - including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada - taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance. (Julie Hirschfeld Davis, "Trump Warns NATO Allies To Spend More On Defense, Or Else," The New York Times , 7/2/18)

Due To President Trump's Pressure On NATO Members, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Said European Members And Canada Spent 5% More On Defense Last Year Compared To 2016. "NATO's chief says European members and Canada spent a total of almost 5 percent more on defense last year compared to 2016, amid pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to boost military budgets. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that eight allies are likely to spend the target NATO benchmark of 2 percent of their GDP on defense this year." ("NATO's Chief Says Allies Are Spending More On Defense," The Associated Press , 03/15/18)

At The July NATO Summit, Stoltenberg Called The Summit "Very Good" And Said The President Was "Having A Real Impact" On Defense Spending. CNN's CHRISTINA AMANPOUR: "So let's take that urgency. President trump as we know and we saw publicly throughout the summit keeps demanding 2%. He not only demanded 2%. He demanded more to happen almost immediate rather than 2024 as you NATO allies agreed. So has President Trump secured a pledge from NATO allies to immediately start spending more, up to 4%? Have the allies agreed specifically to figures demanded by the president today?" NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JENS STOLTENBERG: "The allies have heard his message loud and clear and his strong message on defense spending is having a real impact, just since last time president trump was here in Brussels at the NATO meetings last May, European allies have added $41 billion extra for defense funding so we have turned the corner. Before the trend was down and now the trend is going up all allies agree that we have to make good on the commitments we have made and increased defense spending." (CNN's " Newsroom ," 7/12/18)

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