During the recent G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to maintaining sanctions against Russia that were put in place after the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Obama reaffirms sanctions
Until the Minsk agreement on cessation of hostilities is implemented, the U.S. is not going to pull down sanctions. — President Barack Obama
At the same time, the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned Ukraine that if the country does not live up to promised economic and political reforms, the E.U. sanctions imposed following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 may expire.
We know that if they give an excuse to the EU, there are at least five countries right now that want to say 'We want out'" of sanctions against Moscow. — Vice President Joe Biden
Trump supports recognizing Crimea as part of Russia
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has expressed support for recognizing Crimea as a part of Russia. When asked at a news conference if he would lift the sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of annexing the Ukrainian territory Trump responded, “Yes. We would be looking at that.”
Crimean people want to be part of Russia
Trump has based his position on the belief that the people of Crimea “would rather be with Russia than where they were.” Polls taken after Russia’s annexation of Crimea would appear to support Trump’s contention. A Gallup poll in 2014 found that 82 percent of the people living in Crimea “fully supported Crimea’s inclusion in Russia.”
Clinton attacks Trump’s business ties to Russia
Hillary Clinton has attacked Trump on his business ties to Russia and for his ‘warm words’ for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton has said that Trump’s praise for Putin is “beyond one’s imagination.
But I was certainly disappointed that someone running for president of the United States would continue this unseemly identification with and praise of the Russian president, including on Russian television. — Hillary Clinton
Russia would prefer Trump as President
Putin has made it clear that Russia would prefer Donald Trump and not Hillary Clinton to be the next U.S. President. That view comes from Putin’s belief that Trump is someone Russia could work with. The Russian idea that Trump is someone they could work with does not necessarily mean that Trump would do Russia’s bidding. Nevertheless, Trump’s view of the world is one that would not be as harsh on Russia as would President Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s.
Putin remains popular in Russia
Mr. Putin continues to be very popular with the Russian people, and there are few signs that will change. In Mr. Trump’s view, Vladimir Putin is a strong and popularly elected leader in a powerful country. The reality is that Russia is going to do what it feels is in its national interest, just as the U.S. does. Trump believes that it’s possible to work with Putin on areas where the U.S. and Russia can find common ground, such as the war against ISIS.
My administration, on the other hand, will work with any country that is willing to partner with us to defeat ISIS, and halt radical Islamic terrorism. And that includes Russia. If they want to join us by knocking out ISIS, that is just fine as far as I'm concerned. It is a very imperfect world, and you can't always choose your friends. But you can never fail to recognize your enemies. — Donald Trump