In fact, as the article shows with its quotations from Trump’s remarks, the US leader did not go quite that far. He did say that “in World War II, Russia lost 50 million people and helped us gain the victory over Hitler.”
That statement is problematic in two ways. On the one hand, many of the millions of Soviet citizens who died – and even the most expansive Russian commentators do not put that figure at 50, a significant share were not ethnic Russians. It was a Soviet contribution not merely a Russian one, all of Putin’s propaganda notwithstanding.
And on the other, Trump’s words were sufficiently ambiguous to be open to the very interpretation the Moscow newspaper and probably many in the Kremlin give them. He has accepted Putin’s view that World War II remains central and that the world must base its decisions with that as a starting point.
For many of the peoples in between Moscow and Berlin, that is an even more frightening future than even talk about the United States not living up to its treaty responsibilities to come to the aid of any of its fellow NATO members who may be attacked by the only country in Europe that has shown itself willing to use aggression to advance its foreign policy goals.