“It seems to me President Trump, he needs to get a better understanding of what Putin really is,” Mr. Yatsenyuk said. “It’s important to understand him. He’s the enemy of my country. But he’s a very smart, sophisticated political animal. And his primary objective is to outplay President Trump.”
This is an important moment for Ukraine as Mr. Trump leaves on Friday for his first overseas trip as president. After stops in the Middle East and at the Vatican, the president will head to Brussels to meet with other NATO leaders, most notably the Europeans who have been holding the front line against Russian adventurism in recent years.
The allies were relieved when the president did not drop sanctions against Russia, as he had suggested he would, and eventually dropped his criticism of NATO, saying the alliance was “no longer obsolete,” as he had described it only months earlier.
But as a candidate, Mr. Trump suggested that under his leadership, the United States would defend only NATO allies that have spent enough money on their own security. And he has yet to publicly reassure the Europeans that he is truly committed to Article 5 of the alliance charter that calls on all members to come to the aid of any that is attacked.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and neither the United States nor Europe has seen fit to help it defend itself against Russia by providing arms, as some in Congress and inside President Barack Obama’s administration unsuccessfully urged the last commander in chief to do. Mr. Trump is even less inclined to do so and has made clear that Ukraine is not a top priority. During the campaign, he said he would consider recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Since taking office, he has said little about the continuing standoff in Ukraine.
But Mr. Yatsenyuk, who stepped down as prime minister last year in a domestic political dispute with President…