12:40 Aug. 2, 2016
Donald Trump is trying to claw back a string of inaccurate comments about Ukraine, but he's yet to get it right
On the weekend, Trump asserted in an ABC interview that Russia would not enter Ukraine, not seeming to know Russian troops were already there. He suggested the 2014 annexation of Crimea didn't count because the peninsula's people preferred being part of Russia, which was Russian President Vladimir Putin's stated reason for taking it.
Prodded by his interviewer, the Republican presidential candidate modified his statement afterward.
TRUMP on Putin: "He's not going into Ukraine, OK. Just so you understand: He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right?"
THE FACTS: Putin did go into Ukraine. After Ukrainian protesters chased Viktor Yanukovych, their Russian-backed leader, from power in February 2014, Russian troops stationed at a base in Crimea seized strategic locations on the peninsula and replaced the local government with pro-Kremlin politicians. Russia annexed the territory after a widely discredited referendum a month later.
Moscow didn't stop there, according to the central government in Kiev and its Western backers, sending troops and military equipment to help separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. They say Russia continues to train rebels and direct low-level attacks against Ukrainian forces on the front line.
Russia acknowledges it has some military officials in Ukraine, but says no regular troops are there.
In his tweets Monday, Trump sought to explain himself: "When I said in an interview that Putin is 'not going into Ukraine, you can mark it down,' I am saying if I am President." Full story