In February of 2014, Ukraine’s typical frigid winter was set alight with the flames of Molotov cocktails, as a passionate revolution against the Ukrainian government and for a true democracy shook the country to its core. A few days later, former president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, allegedly taking refuge in neighboring Russia. In March of 2014, taking advantage of Ukraine’s turmoil and political instability, Russian president Putin illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula—a part of Ukraine.

Symbolic sanctions were passed, and meek speeches were given, but nothing concrete was done on behalf of Ukraine by the United States government. However, in a refreshing turn of events, Trump’s positive relationship with Putin has actually come to benefit Ukraine and open the door to legislation in Congress providing much-needed aid to Ukrainians.

Trump has found the best way to deal with an authoritarian ruler: give him the power and legitimacy he craves, and he will be much more forgiving. Trump, acting contrary to Congress’s wishes, has allowed the rest of the U.S. government to finally take action against Russia without much fear of retaliation, as their actions are overshadowed by Trump’s apparent admiration.

The Trump administration is on the verge of doing something that the Obama administration (and those prior to that) couldn’t: stand up to Russia and make real progress in restraining its influence around the world. While former President Obama sanctioned Russia after the annexation of Crimea, the legislation to provide real military help to Ukraine in the form of lethal weapons was left idling on his desk, unsigned.

Afraid of antagonizing Putin, Obama took symbolic steps but no concrete action. However, essentially all legislation passed by Congress under the Trump presidency will be overshadowed by his avid admiration of the Russian leader. Trump’s glowing reviews of the Putin administration eclipse the actions of his administration, making Putin quicker to forgive and forget—as long as Trump remains (or at least, symbolically remains) on his side.

While it may be shocking, this form of distraction politics is working for Ukrainians. U.S. officials have had more room to grow bolder, even going so far as to officially declare Russia the aggressor, working somewhat independently of the President’s agenda.

While the deputy foreign minister of Russia, Serghei Ryabkov, angrily declared that the administration had “crossed a line” by calling out Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, no real punitive action was taken by Putin’s administration, and it seems the line continues to be methodically redrawn with each piece of legislation. The historic arms sale, valued at $41.5 million and the biggest U.S. sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine since 2014, is a real step in the Ukrainian defense movement and a testimony to the newfound effectiveness and confidence of Congress.

Former administrations’ “tough on Russia” attitudes have done nothing but embolden Putin to act further, push his limits, and dare Western leaders to challenge him. As former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, describes it, the President’s “strategic near-sightedness” may be the superpower that Ukraine needed all along; the old saying “ignorance is bliss” may have some truth to it, after all.