Washington D.C. : Under increasing pressure over his administration’s relationship with Russia, US President Donald Trump took a swipe at the previous Obama administration, suggesting it was oo soft on Moscow over its annexation of Crimea.
Taking to Twitter, Trump commented that the Crimea peninsula was “taken” by Russia from Ukraine under the Obama administration.
“Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?,” he said.
However, the comments indicate a sharp U-turn for Trump, who had previously buoyed Kremlin’s claim on Crimea, reports CNN.
Russia annexed Crimea, a territory in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, in March 2014 following tensions with its neighbor.
Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that the President has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.
But on Wednesday morning, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova clearly stated that Russia would not return the territory.
“Crimea is part of the Russian Federation,” she told reporters. Within hours, Trump tweeted, asking: “Was Obama too soft on Russia?”
During his campaign trail in July, Trump had said that the Ukraine crisis was “more of a Europe problem,” and that the US should only step in on Crimea if European countries asked for help.