Building better relations with Russia does not mean turning a blind eye to the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine.

In referencing the fighting between government troops and Moscow-backed rebels, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley recently slammed Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine in her first remarks to the United Nations Security Council. Reportedly at least 19 people have died since fighting erupted around Avdiivka.

Ms. Haley also made clear that U.S. sanctions imposed after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea won’t be lifted anytime soon.

Her message is in stark contrast to President Obama’s March 2012 assurance, caught on a hot mic, to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul. Mr. Obama said it was important for incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin to “give me space” on thorny issues, including missile defense, and added that after his anticipated re-election, he would have “more flexibility.”

Haley was hardly as accommodating. Indeed, her candor is refreshing after eight years of accommodations, excuses and occasional empty threats from the Obama administration at Turtle Bay.

And despite all the predictions and partisan pontification, President Trump’s relationship with Mr. Putin has yet to be realized. His ambassador, however, signals that this administration is going to be no pushover at the United Nations.


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