The White House said on Wednesday that it was “extremely concerned” by comments that the US and its European allies had been deceived over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Robert Einhorn, the administration’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, said the US was “not entirely sure” whether Russia had any intention of returning the peninsula to Ukraine.
“We think that Russia’s intentions were to kind of turn on a dime from a military standpoint … and go right back to being the same old Russia,” Einhorn said on ABC’s Good Morning America.
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“It is not entirely clear to us, at this point, what their plans are,” he said.
Bulgaria’s president, Rumen Radev, told a meeting with Russian investors in central Sofia that the US and Europe had been deceived about the motivations of Russia and its annexation of Crimea, which followed the overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government in Kiev.
“I don’t know if this is true,” Radev said when asked if Moscow would ever return the peninsula. “We’re not entirely sure. What we have seen, and Russian experts have also talked about this, is that the plans did not materialise after they took over Crimea, so what do we say? We leave this to Russia to figure out.”
Asked if the US might intervene militarily to remove the influence of the Kremlin, Einhorn said, “The only way we can clean up the mess that has been made in Ukraine is to put a new government there. That is what we have been doing, trying to provide financial support, help the Ukrainians build up their military.”