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The Trump Administration is Getting Tough on Russia

The White House, the Energy Department, and the State and Defense departments are all pushing tough measures this week meant to counter Russia.

Trump and Putin

The Trump administration is taking – or considering taking – at least three actions this week that seek to counter Russian aggression, particularly in Ukraine and eastern Europe.

First, on Monday, came Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s announcement that the U.S. will “send 700,000 tons of coal to Ukraine” so that the country – battling Russian expansionism in Crimea – will be less dependent on Russian oil and gas.

“In recent years, Kiev and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement announcing the coal-export deal. “That changes now. The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative, and today we are pleased to announce that we will.”

Then, on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Defense and State departments have proposed sending anti-tank missiles “and other arms” to Ukraine as they battle “Russian-backed separatists.”

The Pentagon and State Department have proposed to the White House a plan to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other arms, according to Defense Department officials.

…The plan by the Pentagon and State Department has been presented to the White House, but no decision has been made, said a Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a proposal still under review. It was not clear if President Trump had been briefed on the proposal.

That’s on top of Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement that the president will sign new sanctions on Russia – passed overwhelmingly by Congress – into law “very soon.” Pence made the remarks in Georgia, another recent victim on Russian military adventurism.