Trump warns Russian FM against election interference

Trump warns Russian FM against election interference

US president discusses number of issues with Sergey Lavrov, including trade, Iran and North Korea

President Donald Trump warned Russia’s foreign minister Tuesday against “any Russian attempts to interfere” in U.S. elections, according to the White House.

During his closed-door meeting with Sergey Lavrov at the Oval Office, Trump also urged Moscow to resolve the conflict with Ukraine, referring to the unrest in the country’s east, the White House said in a statement.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula after a controversial referendum.

Trump also posted a photo of himself with Lavrov on Twitter, saying he had “a very good meeting” with the top Russian diplomat and the country’s representatives.

“Discussed many items including Trade, Iran, North Korea, INF Treaty, Nuclear Arms Control, and Election Meddling. Look forward to continuing our dialogue in the near future!” he tweeted.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Lavrov briefed Trump “on their discussions regarding the state of the bilateral relationship” between the two countries, said the statement.

Earlier in the day, Pompeo also warned Lavrov against further interference in next year’s presidential election, saying he made clear during their bilateral meeting Washington’s “expectations of Russia.”

“Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps to undermine our democratic processes, we will take action in response,” Pompeo said.

U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia was behind a sweeping disinformation campaign to influence the 2016 elections in favor of Trump, but Moscow staunchly denied the allegations even as the Trump administration imposed sanctions and indicted Russian companies and individuals in retaliation.

During the meeting, Trump also emphasized his support for effective global arms control that includes both Russia and China.

“President Trump welcomed continued engagement with Russia to address areas of mutual concern, including how the United States and Russia can take positive steps with respect to detained citizens,” said the statement.

Trump also urged Moscow to back Washington to “prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ensure the denuclearization of North Korea.”

The two men also reviewed the state of relations with Beijing.

“The President reiterated the need for fair and reciprocal trade with China. The President noted that a better relationship with Russia would allow increased trade between our countries,” the statement concluded.

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