US President Donald Trump refused on Friday to rule out accepting Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region when he meets his Kremlin counterpart Vladimir Putin next month. Graham said he was troubled by Trump's claim Russia did not meddle in the 2016 US elections despite intelligence agencies saying the "highest levels" of the Russian government approved activities that led up to Trump's victory.
"We're going to talk about Ukraine, we're going to be talking about Syria". During his 2016 election campaign Trump hinted at a possibility of recognizing Crimea as part of Russian Federation but has since backtracked.
His comments come just one day after Trump himself told reporters aboard Air Force One that "we'll be talking about elections". Leaders of the other G7 nations - Britain, Canada, Italy, France, Germany and Japan - have all made clear Russian Federation is not welcome back until and unless it gives Crimea back to Ukraine.
The summit with Putin comes amid FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. He has repeatedly praised his peer while straining ties with numerous United States' closest allies.
Asked whether the USA would recognize Russia's claim to Crimea, the president said: "We're going to have to see".
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On Thursday, the CNN quoted unnamed sources as saying that Trump believes he can strike a deal with Putin on a so-called exclusion zone in southwest Syria that will allow the United States to "get out ASAP". Trump has been critical of the probe, denying any collusion and arguing that the Democrats should be investigated instead. Trump tweeted last week.
"I think the president will have to pursue that further and I think that's one reason why he and President Putin need to have this conversation. The US does not want, that someone interfered in the elections". "Putin was pretty clear with me about it and my response was we're going to have to agree to disagree on Ukraine".
Peskov also said Putin was ready to move towards normalizing ties with the United States in proportion to USA willingness to do the same.
Trump also suggested that scrapping sanctions on Russian Federation depended on its actions, including in Syria.