Currently, Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is defending himself for his role in the constantly unfolding saga of Donald Trump and his Russian business and political connections. That saga has taken another turn, with a Ukrainian politician facing treason charges for his role.
Radio Liberty is reporting that Andriy Artemenko, who allegedly drafted a “peace plan” that would see Russia cede control of Ukrainian territory in exchange for a lease on the Crimea, is now facing treason charges. The plan then went to Russian businessman and alleged gangster Felix Sater, who discussed it with Cohen. Cohen has offered several different statements about whether he approved the plan and whether he delivered a sealed envelope containing it to the office of national security advisor Michael Flynn. And Flynn resigned amid accusations of inappropriate contact with Russian officials about Obama-era economic sanctions that were imposed on Russia after it invaded the Ukraine in 2014.
Artemenko claimed credit for the plan, and the reaction has been swift; he was ousted from his party yesterday, and the treason investigation could end with him spending a decade behind bars. It also may begin to put pressure on other members of the Trump administration. After all, Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state, was involved in Russian oil deals in his previous role as CEO of Exxonmobil, and the Obama sanctions heavily affected Exxonmobil’s business in the region.
Considering how Russia’s oil industry is entirely state-owned, and Congress did away with a provision that requires oil companies to disclose foreign payments, owning the Crimea and its oil rights would allow Exxonmobil to move ahead with several major energy projects in the region. Paired with Trump’s Russia problems elsewhere, it remains to be seen just how far this goes.
(via Radio Liberty)