Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the U.S. rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and called on Moscow to end its occupation of the territory.
“In concert with allies, partners and the international community, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored,” Pompeo said in a statement released in advance of his appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Pompeo said the U.S. calls on Russia “to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea.”
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“As democratic states seek to build a free, just and prosperous world, we must uphold our commitment to the international principle of sovereign equality and respect the territorial integrity of other states,” Pompeo said.
“Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community,” he said.
Pompeo’s appearance before the committee Wednesday afternoon will mark the first time lawmakers have had a chance to grill him since President Donald Trump touched off bipartisan alarm and outrage at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki nine days ago.
At a joint news conference with Putin after the two leaders met privately, Trump downplayed the conclusions of America’s intelligence agencies and said he accepted Putin’s assertion that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump later walked back his pro-Putin remarks, but he has not disclosed what he and Putin discussed during their controversial, closed-door tete-a-tete.
Senators are looking to Pompeo to provide clarity on what transpired during that meeting and what agreements, if any, were reached between the two leaders.
Senators also are expected to question Pompeo about Trump’s closed-door meeting in June with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his administration’s recent hostile barbs aimed at Iran.