Trump’s business associates had a plan to offer Crimea to Russia: report
"A report alleges Trump had a plan for Eastern Europe that would have been very beneficial for Putin's Russia"
Ukraine lawmaker who met Trump associates faces treason probe
Kremlin Denies Knowledge of Ukraine Plan Pushed by Trump Associates
Russia will not pay rent for Crimea, Kremlin says after maverick peace plan emerges in White House
So basically, Trump's personal lawyer may've presented a plan for Ukraine that was crafted by people who were not diplomats but businessmen, the NYT reports. Apparently, the plan was introduced by Michael Cohen, Trump's aide since 2007. A week before Micheal Flynn resigned, he was given a paper copy of a plan for lifting the sanctions against Russia. Cohen is married to an Ukrainian, btw. Other co-authors of the plan were Sater, a guy who's been running Trump's dealings with Russia for years, and Ukrainian MP Artyomenko, a vigorous opponent to president Poroshenko. Oh, also Trump's former chief of the election campaign, Manafort (known for his ties to the pro-Russian lobby in the Ukraine). So these are the people who were supposed to be giving "peace" to Ukraine.
Some of these guys are being investigated by the FBI for their ties to Russia, but apparently they continue to act behind the scenes, and steer Trump's administration in its relations with Moscow in the direction that they like. While they're alien to diplomacy, they say their goal is to merely put an end to a bloody 3-year conflict that has claimed thousands of lives. Cohen even rhetorically asked, "Who doesn't want to achieve peace?" How very benevolent indeed.
When you look a bit closer into the plan, you'd realize it's more than just a peace plan, though. Artyomenko, whom many consider to be a Trump-style future wannabe-leader of Ukraine claims he has damning evidence incriminating president Poroshenko in corruption, which could topple him from power. I'm sure Putin would be extremely happy.
As for the plan itself, it includes withdrawing all Russian troops from East Ukraine, which sounds awesome. Then the Ukrainians would have to hold a referendum to decide if they'd be voluntarily giving Crimea on a 50 or 100 year lease to Russia (something like Hong Kong). The Ukrainian ambassador to the US answered some questions sent by the NYT, and basically rejected any such ideas, saying they were a blatant violation of the Ukrainian constitution and the territorial integrity of his country. Such ideas could only be the work of people who overtly or covertly represent the Russian interests, he said as well.
Now, granted, it's not clear yet if the White House would take these proposals seriously. At the Munich peace conference on Ukraine, president Poroshenko warned the West against using his country as a battleground for geopolitical games and drawing backstage plans for appeasing Russia's appetites.
The plan is on the table, nevertheless. Last month, Cohen met with Sater and Artyomenko, and he promised to convey their proposal to Trump. He was given a sealed print copy of the plan, and then gave it to Trump in Flynn's office. Whether Trump has reviewed it yet, is unknown at this point. But his lawyer says now Flynn's successor (whoever that may be), will have to deal with it and give an answer.
And all of this somehow terribly smacks of another Yalta to me...