President Donald Trump on Sunday criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to retaliate against U.S. sanctions against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, saying he has a better “relationship with Putin” than anyone else in the world.
“We’re going to keep sanctions in place for as long as we can, and then I will give him a very tough one,” Trump told reporters in Florida, where he was attending the White House Easter Egg Roll.
“I think Putin’s going to have to be tougher on us than he has been in the past.
We are going to be very, very tough on him, and we are going see that he has to do what is right.”
“I don’t think we should be doing that, I think we have to get along with Russia,” Trump said, noting that the U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and its military involvement in eastern Ukraine are more than two decades old.
“He’s very smart and very smart people have a lot of respect for him.
They know he is going to do the right thing.
They will be the first to know that,” Trump added.
“If we were doing that right now, we’d be doing it right now.
But we are not doing it, and I don’t like to do it.
It’s a very hard thing to do.”
The president said that the sanctions were imposed in retaliation for Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and its support for separatists in eastern regions of Ukraine.
The United States has been conducting a major air campaign against Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine since 2014, but the U-S.
has not directly targeted the Russian military or military infrastructure in the region, but has deployed forces on its side of the border.
Trump said that Russia had no intention of allowing the U.-S.
to work with each other in any kind of peace talks or to cooperate with the U,S., European Union and other allies.
“You’ve got to have an economic partnership with Russia, but that’s not going to happen,” Trump continued.
“So that’s a big problem, and it’s a great problem.
We don’t want to be a part of that.
I think Putin has a lot more respect for us than anyone I’ve ever met.”
“Russia is an aggressive country, and they are very aggressive in the Middle East, they’re very aggressive around the world, and frankly, I don`t think you want to go into that,” he said.
“But we are, we have a very, really strong relationship with Russia.”
Asked if he could imagine Trump or his daughter Ivanka Trump having a better rapport with Putin, Trump said: “I have friends in the government, and that’s going be one of them, I mean I don.
And you know, we are very, VERY good friends.
I love them very much.”
But, you know it`ll be one day,” he added. “
Look at the history of the last several years, it’s been very, it`s been very hard.
But, you know it`ll be one day,” he added.
“[But] it`d be a very good thing for the United States, very, we will be very strong and we will have a good relationship with Vladimir Putin.
I don”t think it` will be bad.”
Asked whether he believes Putin will give Trump a tougher sanctions, Trump replied: “Oh, I know that.
You know, I like to work, I`m not going into details.
You have to ask him, but you know I like Putin very much.
He is a very strong man, and he has done things that have been very successful.
But I don’t think we are doing anything wrong, and Putin has done very well for himself.”
Trump also said that he expects Putin to “rein in the Ukrainians, which he has not done,” and said he would like to have a stronger relationship with him.
“Putin is going for Ukraine, and Russia is doing that for Ukraine,” Trump claimed.
“Russia has been very strong in Ukraine.
I mean, they`ve been very aggressive.
I hate to say it, but they have been, they have a great relationship with Ukraine, Ukraine is very much their backyard.
They have a strong relationship there.
But you know Russia has been extremely aggressive, and you know Putin has not been doing that.”
“But he`ll have to do something, because I`ve already said that.
And I`ll tell you what, I want to have strong relations with him, I love him very much, and the United Kingdom is going in and we`ll see what happens, we`re going to see what they do, I am very confident about that,” the president said.
Asked if Russia would help him “get along with the Russians,” Trump responded: “Yeah, I would love