Potential Kerry successor admits Russia occupied Crimea
Donald Trump's pick for the post of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing in the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, stressed that the Russian Federation had seized Crimea – the territory which did not belong to Russia.
Senator Ben Cardin asked Tillerson if Russia had a legal claim to Crimea.
"No, sir," Tillerson said, according to CBS News. "That was a taking of territory that was not theirs."
"In terms of the taking of Crimea, my understanding is that it caught a lot of people by surprise," said Tillerson, adding that it was the U.S. administration’s weak response after Russia's taking of Crimea that led to Russia coming across the border into eastern Ukraine.
Read alsoTurkish FM: "We do not accept Crimea annexation despite good ties with Moscow""I would have recommended that the Ukraine had called its military assets that it had available, put them on the eastern border," Tillerson said, adding that the U.S. should have supplied them with weapons and offered air surveillance to Ukraine.
Tillerson said that Russian leadership would have understood a "powerful response" such as a more robust supply of U.S. military assets.