Trump to sign anti-Russia sanctions 'very soon,' USA vice president says


US Vice President Mike Pence is to visit Podgorica and meet Balkan leaders on Tuesday and Wednesday and is expected to reaffirm Washington's support for the region after accusing Russian Federation of seeking to "redraw worldwide borders" and "undermine democracies".

Pence implicitly downplayed Trump's earlier threat to veto the bill, saying: "In signing the sanctions, our president and our Congress are speaking with a unified voice".

Asked about Pence's visit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said nations had the right to choose their partners.

"We stand with the people and nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - and we always will", Pence said at a joint press availability with the Baltic leaders in Tallinn, even as, back home, President Donald Trump has yet to comment on Russian expulsion of USA diplomatic staff.

The White House has said Trump will now approve the bill but has not set a timeframe.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and were under Moscow's rule during the Soviet era.

Georgia's Defence Minister Levan Izoria stated that the name Noble Partner highlighted not only military cooperation between Georgia and the USA, but a noble cooperation in the global context.

Mike Pence also met the Catholicos patriarch of Georgia Ilia II in Sioni Cathedral, after which he and his delegation left Georgia for Montenegro.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Georgia about a year after the 2008 war.

Putin is seeking to reduce the number of staff members at USA missions in Russia to 455, a figure equal to the number of Russian diplomats now in the United States, the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier, giving a deadline of September 1 for the cuts.

When asked if there was a way out of the political impasse, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there needed to be the political will to restore relations and called for the sanctions against Russian Federation to end.

Keeping to previous USA administrations' line, Pence also condemned Russia's presence in Georgia.

In his long speech Pence highlighted US-Georgia strong cooperation for defence and security and Georgia's contribution for worldwide peace. And Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said that the United States could also deploy the Patriot anti-missile system to his country, though he did not give specifics on the timing.

Pence and Kvirikashvili discussed key issues of the Georgian and American strategic partnership, the Georgian Prime Ministry said in a statement. "Our countries are nstrategic partners sharing common values and goals", he noted, underlining that the US Government assistance to Georgia is crucial. Russian Federation also seized two diplomatic compounds that belong to the U.S.