President Trump expects Russia to abandon its claim over the Crimean Peninsula, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said today.

Sanctions imposed by the United States during the Obama Administration will remain in place, until Russia ‘returns’ Crimea to the Ukrainian government.

The announcement is in line with others from the Trump Administration. On February 2nd, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said “Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine”

The timing of this message, and that it originates with President Trump, could have multiple implications. The first could be an effort to take attention off the embarrassing resignation of National Security Adviser LTG Michael Flynn.