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Changing course on Crimea is a bad deal for the U.S.

Billboard in Sevastopol, Crimea, with Putin's face
A billboard in Sevastopol, Crimea, in August 2017. The text reads: "Sevastopol is outpost of the future of Russia." Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters last week that he would “have to see” if the U.S. would change its policy on recognizing Russian occupation of Crimea, implying that the issue would be on the table when he meets President Putin later this month. But Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, said Crimea was not on the agenda for the summit because the peninsula, which Russia took by force in 2014, is already an “inseparable part of Russia.”

Be smart: The truth is that a 180º shift in U.S. policy on nonrecognition of Crimea is exactly what the Kremlin wants. It would give Putin a big win at home and abroad while setting a precedent for future land grabs by Russia, China and others.