Former Defense Secretary Gates: Crimea Has Been Lost to Russia

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 9 2014 1:16 PM

Former Defense Secretary Gates: Crimea Has Been Lost to Russia

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Fox News that there was little chance Ukraine would be able to get back control of Crimea. "I do not believe that Crimea will slip out of Russia's hands," Gates said in an interview on Sunday. "You think Crimea’s gone?" Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked. "I do," the former defense secretary replied.

Gates also went on to defend Obama, noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin “invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president—no one accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force.”

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Meanwhile though, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a crowd in Kiev that the country would not give up “a single centimeter” of territory. "This is our land," he said. The interim prime minister will be flying to the United States this week to discuss the situation in Crimea. He is expected to arrive on Wednesday, reports CNN. Crimea residents are scheduled to hold a referendum next week on whether it is part of Russia. But the United States will not recognize the annexation, regardless of the vote, U.S. national security official Tony Blinken told CNN on Sunday, reports Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.