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WASHINGTON, January 29. /TASS/. One of US President Donald Trump’s staunchest foreign policy allies in Congress expressed hope that the new administration lifts anti-Russian sanctions and starts new constructive relations with Moscow.
"I would hope that our president removes those sanctions and tells President Putin that we're going to start all over again," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, told the Washington Examiner.
"He's not going to call it a reset, because that's become a cliche, but we're going to take away these sanctions and build a whole new relationship which facilitates working together to attain mutually-beneficial goals - rather than the current policy, which is unending hostility and belligerence toward Russia, no matter what it does," he said.
The lawmaker also dismissed attempts to blame Russia for the civil conflict in Ukraine.
"I don't believe Putin started this," he said. "I believe the West started it when they overthrew a pro-Russian democratically-elected government (led by Viktor Yanukovich) that was on Russia's border."
He added that the dispute surrounding Crimea’s reunification with Russia could be ended by holding a new referendum on the issue with the participation of international observers.
"Anybody who knows the area knows that these people are pro-Russian, they are Russians, they consider themselves Russians, they speak Russian," Rohrabacher said, adding that Russia, in return, should end its support for the self-proclaimed eastern Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The lawmaker warned that anti-Russian moves may result in "building a reality" in which the United States and Russia are permanent adversaries.
"I am aware that my opinion does not reflect that of a significant number of my colleagues in the House and Senate," he said. "I do know it reflects a huge chunk of the American people and a huge chunk of Republicans out there. They want to work with Russia, they want to work with anybody. And they have no trouble seeing who our primary enemy is, which is radical Islam.".