President Donald Trump on Sunday called the Russian government’s seizure of Crimea a “coup” and said he is “not a war criminal.”
Trump said he was “not” calling for the U.S. to engage in a “war of aggression.”
Trump also called the takeover of Crimea “an attack on the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people,” but he did not elaborate on how the U,S.
would go about that.
The president made the comments in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who moderated the interview.
Trump told Cuomo that the U!
had no interest in “going into a war with Russia” and that he believed the Ukrainian crisis had been resolved.
“The Crimea issue was resolved,” Trump said.
“I think it was resolved, Chris.
And it’s not a war.
And, as far as I’m concerned, we have nothing to do with a war of aggression.
And that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time.”
Trump, who has called Russia a “very vicious and oppressive” country, told Cuomo on Sunday that he was not referring to the U.,S., but to the “very brutal” Russian government.
Trump said that he has spoken with Putin “many times” and called the annexation of Crimea an “act of war.”
“I just want to say, we had a very good meeting,” Trump told CNN.
“And I hope that he will have a very nice meeting with me.”
In the interview, Trump said the U has “been fighting this war for years,” and he called it a “total disaster.”
“And what happened in Crimea, in Ukraine, and then now in the Ukraine, we don’t even know how to call it a war, it’s a total disaster,” Trump, a former reality TV star, said.
The U.K. said Sunday that a British naval ship had been ordered to sail out of the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The British government said the vessel, the HMS Daring, had been “escorted to the Russian Black Sea port of Severomorsk.”
Russia has accused the U.’s government of planning the seizure of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula in a bid to wrest control of Crimea from the country’s ethnic Russian population.
Trump has said the move was a “game changer.”
In a statement Sunday, the White House said it was “unaware” of the decision and that the president would seek a “full explanation.”
Trump told NBC News that the move “puts us in a position where we don ‘t want to be in the position where Russia takes control of our Black Sea, which we’ve always said is ours, and we have to make a deal.”
He said the Crimean issue “could have been resolved.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it was considering sending a message to the United States to prevent the U from taking any actions against Russia.
“If it is necessary to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, we will do so and will exercise all possible measures,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.
“Any further actions will be counter-productive.”
The Russian foreign ministry did not say how it will respond to the Trump administration’s move.
Trump on Saturday signed a series of executive orders to help the U.-Russia relationship, including one that seeks to impose sanctions on Russia for its role in Ukraine.
The Trump administration has said that sanctions against Russia over the annexation could include a ban on certain types of weapons and ammunition.
The United States has said it would not impose any sanctions against Moscow over Crimea.