Washington (AP) The Latest on President Donald Trump’s decision to lift sanctions on Russia and a meeting of US and European leaders in Brussels (all times local):1:30 p.m.
President Donald J. Trump says he will sign an executive order lifting sanctions against Russia and the annexation of Crimea, a move he says will protect the U.S. from a resurgent Russia and protect Americans’ interests.
The move is likely to increase pressure on Russia as a potential challenger to the United States.
The president’s statement came as he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met in Brussels.
The White House said it will be the first time that any president has ever lifted sanctions on a country.
The statement from Trump’s office was brief and did not address the significance of the move.
The action would make it easier for Congress to lift the sanctions, but it would not be binding on Congress to do so.
The Associated Press has been unable to independently verify the president’s comments.
Trump said in a statement Saturday that he will take executive action on sanctions if Congress does not pass a bill to do it.
He did not say how many sanctions would be lifted.
Trump and Tillerson were in Brussels to discuss the possibility of lifting sanctions for Crimea, the former Soviet Union’s southern Crimean Peninsula and part of Ukraine.
Trump said in his statement that the move was necessary to defend Americans from a Russia that “is threatening to destabilize the region and threaten the peace and security of Europe.”
The president made the announcement as the Russian government declared its annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and imposed new economic restrictions and restrictions on its air space.
Trump’s statement did not explicitly say the U,S.
and European Union will be on the same page on Crimea.
That is not clear.
The White House statement said the sanctions would allow the U.,U.S., and EU to “continue to work together on the issue.”
Trump’s announcement came hours after Tillerson said he and the presidents of France and Germany will meet in Brussels on Saturday to discuss “issues related to Ukraine.”
Tillerson, who is on a four-day trip to Europe, said on Twitter that he and Trump are “hopeful” that the two countries will agree on a path forward on the Ukraine crisis.___Follow AP news from Europe and Russia at: http://twitter.com/AP_world and http://www.twitter.org/AP