Trump, Putin begin day of meetings in Helsinki — live updates
Ukraine, Crimea and sanctions
Leading up to the meeting with Putin, Mr. Trump has also been asked about Crimea. In response, he has blamed President Obama for allowing Putin to annex Crimea from Ukraine during his administration in 2014. Putin, Mr. Trump said at a news conference with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May last week that Obama “failed very badly with Crimea – I wouldn’t have done that.” “We’ll have to see what happens,” he added.
At the time, Mr. Obama condemned the move, and the U.S. and E.U. sanctioned Russia afterward. Even now, only countries like Venezuela and Syria recognize Crimea as part of Russia. In May, Russia bolstered its relationship with Crimea with the completed construction of a bridge from Russia to Crimea.
While Ukraine and some European allies fear that Mr. Trump will recognize the annexation of Crimea, National Security Adviser told ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” “That is not the policy of the U.S.” The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman was also asked about Crimea Sunday. “I think it’s highly unlikely that that will come up in their conversation,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding that there are “so many other things to talk about.”
And at this point, U.S. sanctions against Russia over the annexation still remain in place, many of them dating back to the Obama administration in 2014. Russia has also been sanctioned by the U.S. over election meddling and other cyber attacks like NotPetya, which the U.S. and U.K. believe the Russian military executed, and which cost billions in damage across Europe, Asia and the U.S.