A week before Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, proposing a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia. This was reported by the New York Times.
The initiative provides for the withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine and the referendum to give Crimea for lease to Russia for 50 or 100 years.
Michael Flynn resigned, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
The amateur diplomats say their goal is simply to help settle a grueling, three-year conflict that has cost 10,000 lives. “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Cohen asked.
But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Putin.
“A lot of people will call me a Russian agent, a US agent, a CIA agent,” Artemenko said. “But how can you find a good solution between our countries if we do not talk?”
The two others involved in the effort have somewhat questionable pasts: Sater, 50, a Russian-American, pleaded guilty to a role in a stock manipulation scheme decades ago that involved the Mafia. Mr. Artemenko spent two and a half years in jail in Kyiv in the early 2000s on embezzlement charges, later dropped, which he said had been politically motivated.
While it is unclear if the White House will take the proposal seriously, the diplomatic freelancing has infuriated Ukrainian officials. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, said Artemenko “is not entitled to present any alternative peace plans on behalf of Ukraine to any foreign government, including the US administration.”
Earlier it was reported that the bill restricting Trump’s possibility to lift sanctions against Russia was introduced in US Congress. The document was submitted by two-party coalition of lawmakers to both chambers of US Congress for adoption.