White House: US Sanctions Will Remain Until Russia Vacates Eastern Ukraine

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during a briefing at the White House, Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday said the United States will continue to sanction Russia until it stops backing separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“Would the President like to see Russia get out of eastern Ukraine, and does he see Moscow as the aggressor in this conflict?” Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asked Spicer during his daily briefing.

“I think we’ve been clear that yeah, I mean, obviously,” Spicer said. “That’s part of the reason there are sanctions.”

Spicer said the subject “obviously” came up during President Donald Trump’s discussion earlier Tuesday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

“Until they are out of eastern Ukraine, we’re going to continue to have sanctions on Russia. We believe that that is a part of Ukraine,” Spicer said. “Those sanctions will remain.”

He did not address Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, an act of aggression Trump also appeared to forget about while campaigning for President.