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Trump Doesn't Rule Out Recognizing Russia's Annexation Of Crimea

June 29, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump has declined to rule out recognizing Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula only days ahead of a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Asked by reporters at the White House late on June 29 whether reports about him dropping Washington's longstanding opposition to the annexation were true, Trump said: "We're going to have to see."

News reports have cited European leaders as saying that Trump argued privately at a recent Group of Seven summit that Crimea should be part of Russia because most of the people there speak Russian as their primary language.

Trump while campaigning for the presidency in 2016 also refused to rule out recognizing Russia's 2014 land grab as he vowed repeatedly to improve U.S. ties with Moscow.

But since becoming president, Trump has adhered to the stance taken by the United States under his predecessor Barack Obama, who said Russia's annexation of Crimea violated international law and who imposed tough sanctions on Russia over the move along with parallel sanctions imposed by the European Union.

Trump's refusal to reaffirm U.S. opposition to the Russian intervention in Ukraine likely will dismay European allies ahead of next month's NATO summit.

Just days after the July 11 NATO meeting, Trump plans to fly to Helsinki for his first one-on-one summit with Putin on July 16.

Trump scheduled the Putin summit this week in what he said was an effort to improve ties with Russia after a year of souring relations over matters from Moscow's backing of Syria's chemical weapons attacks to its own alleged use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy in England.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

Source: out-recognizing-russian-annexation-ukraine- crimean-peninsula/29328403.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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