U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is only in the early stages of considering whether to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia, as British Prime Minister Theresa May, other foreign officials and U.S. lawmakers cautioned that such a move would be premature.
With Trump expected to speak by phone on Saturday with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since taking power a week ago, speculation has been rife that he is close to lifting sanctions imposed by then-President Barack Obama over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014.
Such a move would likely cause consternation among European allies as well as many in the U.S. Congress who are also troubled by Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war and by U.S. intelligence agencies’ finding that Moscow meddled in the U.S. election campaign.
“As far as the sanctions, (it is) very early to be talking about that,” Trump said, while insisting that he wanted to follow through on his campaign pledge to pursue better relations with Russia.
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