By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with Reuters that he isn’t considering lifting sanctions on Russia, but he would consider it if Russia gave him something he wants in Ukraine or Syria.
“I’m not considering it at all. No. I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that,” Trump said in the interview released late on August 20.
Trump then suggested areas where he could foresee making a deal with Russia over sanctions.
“We have a lot of things we can do good for each other. You have Syria. You have Ukraine. You have many other things,” he said.
Trump told Reuters that Putin did not ask him to lift U.S. sanctions during their summit in Helsinki last month. But he said the two in a private meeting that lasted nearly two hours did talk about Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany that will supply natural gas to Germany.
“I mentioned Crimea, sure. I always mention Crimea whenever I mention Ukraine. Putin and I had a very good discussion. It was a very — I think it was a very good discussion for both parties. I mentioned the gas pipeline going to Germany,” Trump said.
On an issue related to sanctions — Russia’s faltering economy — Trump told Reuters Putin seemed eager for help.
“I think they would like economic development. And that’s a big thing for them,” he said.
“We had a very good, I guess, close to two-hour meeting. We had another good meeting with a lot of our representatives there. We talked about Israel, we talked about insecurity for Israel, we talked about Syria, we talked about Ukraine,” he said.