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Russian Cossacks Consider Demoting Trump's ‘Honorary Cossack’ Status

A Cossack salutes during a ceremony for a bust of Russian president Vladimir Putin in Kasimovo, north of St. Petersburg, May 16, 2015. Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

Last November, Donald Trump was named an honorary Russian Cossack — the fearsome warrior clan known for their daring feats on the battlefield. The new president-elect had won over the Irbis Cossacks of St. Petersburg with promises to cut NATO funding and rebuild relations with Moscow.

But now they’re having second thoughts, following U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian airbase earlier this month — an attack Moscow promptly denounced as aggression against a sovereign state.

This Tuesday, Ataman Andrei Polyakov, the Cossack group’s leader, told the radio station Govorit Moskva that President Trump made a terrible mistake in Syria.

“We’re considering the possibility [of a demotion],” Polyakov explained. “It’s possible that that was a mistake on his part. After all, we see who surrounds and advises him — it’s not the best people. These are people who traditionally don’t have the best view of Russia. So it’s possible that this was a mistake on his part. Maybe he’ll realize it.”

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