On Monday, as part of Congress’ impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump withheld military support for Ukraine, legislators released testimony from Christopher Anderson, who served as a top aide for Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations. Anderson stated that President Trump had asked the U.S. Navy to cancel a routine “freedom-of-navigation” operation in the Black Sea, near Ukraine, earlier this year.
But on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy dismissed Anderson’s version of events. “U.S. 6th Fleet conducted our naval operations in the Black Sea region as scheduled in January and February 2019. The U.S. Navy will continue to operate in the Black Sea consistent with international law, to include the Montreaux Convention,” Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for Naval Forces Europe-Africa asserted, as Stars and Stripes reported.
On Monday, Politico reported that Anderson recalled an alleged early-2019 conversation in which former national security adviser John Bolton said Trump had complained about a CNN story insinuating the Navy was countering Russian aggression in the Black Sea. Anderson told legislators, “Ambassador Bolton relayed that he was called at home by the president, who complained about this news report.” . . .
Business Insider added, “Anderson said the signal to cancel the Navy operation, combined with reports at the time saying an effort was underway to review all assistance to Ukraine, left some fearing a shift in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet republic.”
Anderson stated, “We met with Ambassador Bolton and discussed this, and he made it clear that the president had called him to complain about that news report. And that may have just been that he was surprised. We don’t — I can’t speculate as to why, but that, that operation was canceled, but then we were able to get a second one for later in February. And we had an Arleigh-class destroyer arrive in Odessa on the fifth anniversary of the Crimea invasion.” (Read more from “Foreign Service Officer Claims Trump Canceled Navy Operation Near Ukraine – Here’s the Truth” HERE)