WASHINGTON – US President-elect Donald Trump has hinted that he could lift the sanctions against Russia if Moscow proved helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to the United States, a newspaper report said Friday.
Trump said he will keep the sanctions, imposed by the Barack Obama administration on Moscow for its alleged cyberattacks to influence last year’s US presidential election, “at least for a period of time,” the Wall Street Journal said in a report on its website on an interview with Trump.
But “if you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he asked.
Trump, who will be sworn in next week, added that he is prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin some time after he takes office.
“I understand that they would like to meet, and that’s absolutely fine with me,” he said.
Earlier Friday, Trump’s spokesman said Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, took a phone call from Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak late last month. The two discussed setting up a call between Trump and Putin after Trump is sworn in next Friday.
Trump’s openly pro-Russia stance has been scrutinized recently amid US intelligence’s conclusion that Russia helped him win the presidential election through hacking activities.
Quoting unsubstantiated intelligence reports, US media also revealed Wednesday that Russia might have owned compromising materials about Trump, who made a visit to Moscow in 2013. Trump has strongly denied those reports.
At his first news conference after winning the race, Trump on Wednesday accepted the conclusion that Russia indeed sought to influence the US presidential election with hacking, but he quickly added that Russia was not the only country that launched cyber attacks against the United States.
In another related development, the US Senate Intelligence Committee announced Friday it would investigate Russia’s possible meddling in the 2016 race.
SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency/China Daily