U.S. President Donald Trump will “very soon” sign legislation to strengthen sanctions against Russia, Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
“President Trump has called on Russia to cease its destabilising activities,” Pence said wile addressing newsmen with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvrikashvili in Tbilisi.
“Russia continues to occupy one-fifth of Georgian territory, the United States of America strongly condemns Russia’s occupation on Georgia’s soil,’’ Pence said.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in 2008 as a result of which Georgia lost control of two regions that declared themselves independent states but are propped up with Russian military forces.
The conflict had parallels to one currently being waged in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-aligned separatist forces have been battling the Ukrainian military.
Pence expressed hope that Georgia would “one day” join the Western military alliance NATO
“We stand with you. We are proud of our friendship and strategic partnership with the nation and the people of Georgia.
“I’m here to say, America first does not mean America alone, America stands with Georgia.
“Trump’s administration initially had concerns about the sanctions bill not providing the “traditional flexibility that is afforded to the State Department or any administration” to conduct foreign policy.
“I am pleased to report that the bill improved significantly as it moved through the legislative process,’’ Pence said, expressing hope that the sanctions would lead to a more peaceful world.