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U.S., Italian Leaders Say They Will Keep Russian Sanctions In Place

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

U.S. President Donald Trump and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte both are saying that they have no plans to try to lift sanctions against Russia.

At a White House news conference on July 30, Conte said lifting the European Union's sanctions, which were first imposed in 2014 over Russia's aggression in Ukraine, would be "unthinkable."

Some members of Conte's coalition government have advocated lifting sanctions and improving relations with Russia, but the Italian leader went along with a recent six-month extension of the sanctions by the EU.

Trump, who has faced widespread criticism over his handling of a summit this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that U.S. sanctions against Russia, which were imposed near the same time as the EU's, also will stay for now.

"Sanctions against Russia will remain as is," Trump said in response to a reporter's question.

Some members of the U.S. Congress have been considering trying to ratchet up sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Trump-Putin summit.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP