Pence: Ukraine has ′unwavering support′ of US | News | DW | 11.05.2017
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Pence: Ukraine has 'unwavering support' of US

Vice President Mike Pence has told the Ukrainian foreign minister that the US remains firmly committed the cause of Ukrainian sovereignty. At the same time, Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

A White House statement on Wednesday said Pence had stressed America's support for Ukraine's "territorial integrity" and expressed the need to "peacefully resolve the conflict."

The declaration came after the vice president met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and backed separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, drawing condemnation in Europe and the US.

President Donald Trump stressed the need for better relations with Russia during his election campaign, raising worries in Ukraine that his administration would not stand up to Russian aggression.

The plot thickens

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump also met Lavrov also in Washington on Wednesday, and also discussed Ukraine. Trump reportedly stressed Russia's responsibility to put in place a peace agreement.

The White House said in a separate statement that Trump also stressed several other issues, including ending the civil war in Syria and improving US-Russia relations. The administration said Trump made clear the need for Russia to "rein in" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, an ally of Russia and Iran.

President Donald Trump (L) of the US and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office at the White House on May 10.

President Donald Trump (L) of the US and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office at the White House on May 10.

Putin plays a good game

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin told US broadcaster CBS on Wednesday evening that there "will be no effect" on US-Russian relations in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Suited up for a hockey game in Sochi, Russia, Putin - when asked what he thought of Trump's firing of Comey on Tuesday - said: "Your question seems very funny to me. Please don't be angry with me." 

"Trump is acting in accordance with his competence," Putin added.

Salt in the wounds

Lavrov later on Wednesday said it was "humiliating" for the American people to hear that Russia is controlling the political situation in the US, adding that American politicians raising questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election is damaging the US political system.

He also played down questions as "noise" Russia's alleged contacts with people in Trump's campaign. "There is not a single fact" or piece of compelling evidence proving Russia's intervention in the election, he said.

jbh/rc (AP)

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