ITALY (Sputnik) — Trump's adviser added that the president wants the sanctions against Russia to remain.
"We’re not lowering our sanctions on Russia. If anything, we would probably look to get tougher on Russia," the official stated.
Trump has underlined that Moscow should change its behavior prior to any talks on the issue, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn noted.
On Thursday, Cohn told reporters on board Air Force One that the Trump administration did not have a position on Russia sanctions and that the president was looking into this matter. Media reports later speculated that Cohn suggested Trump would look to lift the sanctions.
On February 14, the White House spokesman said that US President Donald Trump expects Russia to "return Crimea" to Ukraine. Later, Trump reaffirmed this stance, suggesDuring the election campaign Trump claimed he would "consider" recognizing Crimea as part of Russia following the referendum in the peninsula, adding that the Crimeans wanted to live in Russia.
Commenting on the White House statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia does not intend to return Crimea to Kiev as it is Russian territory. The Kremlin said that Russia does not discuss issues related to its territory with foreign partners.
Crimea rejoined Russia after a 2014 referendum, when almost 97 percent of the region's population voted for the reunification. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of votes.