17:12 GMT02 December 2020
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    The US administration expects Russia to hand over Crimea to Kiev, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, prompting some to claim that Donald Trump has backtracked on his campaign promise to improve ties with Moscow. In fact, these remarks are unlikely to have an impact on the bilateral relationship, Vzglyad columnist Anton Krylov asserted.

    There is "nothing new" about Spicer's comments; "he did not say anything which deviated from Donald Trump's campaign promises," the analyst pointed out. The statement on Crimea "means nothing in the context of political and economic relations" between Russia and the United States since "we have significantly more mutual interests than matters of dispute," he added.

    Krylov mentioned the Cold War era as a case in point. Although the two superpowers were at odds with each other after World War II, the differences did not prevent both countries from reaching agreements on vital issues such as disarmament or carrying out joint initiatives.

    The analyst further suggested that it is too early to discuss Trump's stance on Crimea and anti-Russian sanctions, dismissing comments on this topic as "nothing more than speculations." He also emphasized that it is not Trump's view of Crimea that matters when it comes to Washington's relations with Russia at this point.

    "Russian President Vladimir Putin, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov and other Russian officials have repeatedly said that Trump is fundamentally different from Hillary Clinton in the sense that he has expressed readiness to listen to Russia's [concerns]," the analyst explained. "The presidential candidate from the Democratic Party has adhered to an approach which denied Moscow the right to have its own goals different from Washington's."

    Chairman of the Russian lower house's international affairs committee Leonid Slutsky also said that Spicer's comments on Crimea do not necessarily mean that the Trump administration does not want to improve ties with Moscow. "The opportunity to reset US-Russian relations has not been lost," he noted.

    In fact, this is what Spicer said at the news briefing. "President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea," he noted. "At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to get along with Russia."

    In Krylov's opinion, "visionary US leaders" understand that Washington and Moscow pursue their own national interests which do not necessarily coincide. As a result, "both countries need to reach a compromise on the issue in order to promote international peace and stability," he asserted.

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    US foreign policy, Sean Spicer, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Crimea, US, Russia
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