Donald Trump declares sanctions will remain on Russia until it ‘returns Crimea to Ukraine’ | World | News

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Washington will “agree to disagree” on matters surrounding the Crimea with Moscow during a briefing on Monday.

She said: “We do not recognise Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea.

“We agree to disagree with Russia on that front.”

Mrs Sanders added American sanctions “will remain in place until Russia returns Crimea to the Ukraine”.

The message from the White House Press Secretary was echoed by National Security Advisor John Bolton who said it is “not the position of the United States”.

Although Mrs Sanders did not comment on whether issues surrounding the annexation would be brought to the table at the upcoming summit between the Trump and Putin, Russia appears to have already ruled out a discussion on the matter.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, said the status of the Crimea “cannot and will never be on the agenda because it is an inseparable part of Russia”.

But Mr Peskov added that apart from matters surrounding the 2014 annexation, “all other issues” could be discussed.

The meeting between the two superpower heads will take place in Helsinki.

It will be the pair’s first formal bilateral meeting.

Despite the assured response from Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump himself has not completely dismissed the idea of the US changing its stance on refusing to recognise the annexation.

When asked by reporters on the matter the billionaire said: “we’ll have to see.”

John Bolton was asked to clarify the comments from the President after his refusal to rule out a change in policy.

He commented: “The President often says ‘we’ll see’ to show he’s willing to talk to foreign leaders about a range of issues and hear their perspective.

“The President makes the policy, I don’t make the policy.”

The US currently has economic sanctions placed on Moscow as a result of the 2014 move.

A change in attitude from Mr Trump on the matter could create a further rift between the US and its allies in Europe.



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