Thur, Feb. 2, 2017: Trump tells Ukrainian politician he won’t lift Russia sanctions

During an unusual private meeting on the sidelines of Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump promised a Ukrainian opposition leader that the United States won’t lift sanctions on Russia until it pulls out of Ukraine, according to three people briefed on the meeting.

Within hours of meeting with both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the prayer breakfast, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko relayed the contents of the meeting to separate audiences at the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute, according to people who attended the off-the-record events at the conservative think tanks.

The sources said that Tymoshenko, a member of parliament who is positioning herself for a presidential campaign against the beleaguered incumbent president Petro Poroshenko, told the think tanks that Trump assured her he would “not abandon” Ukraine, which claims that Russian troops are responsible for increased fighting in the region near the countries’ shared border. The international community largely supports this view, but Moscow denies it and blames the fighting on pro-Russian separatists.

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