US National Security Advisor John Bolton on Tuesday praised “productive” talks with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials during a two-day trip to Moscow.
“I had a series of very comprehensive and productive discussions,” he told a press conference after the visit, which follows US President Donald Trump’s announcement he will pull out of a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
A 90-minute meeting with Putin touched on the conflict in Syria and alleged election meddling by Russia as well as Trump’s decision on the arms treaty, Bolton said.
“We discussed our continuing concern with Russian meddling in elections and why it was particularly harmful for Russian-American relations without producing anything in return,” he said.
Washington was “monitoring potential foreign interference in our elections very closely” with two weeks to go before the mid-terms, Bolton added.
“We had lengthy conversations about arms control issues, the new strategic landscape and the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty” from which Trump wants to pull out.
Bolton described it as “a Cold-War bilateral treaty in a multipolar world” that did not cover the activities of countries such as China or North Korea.
He said he would want the US to remain in the treaty “if I were living in Beijing. But I am not”.
A formal notice of withdrawal has yet to be filed, he added.
Bolton repeated claims that Russia had violated the treaty. Moscow rejects the claims and says Washington has broken the agreement.
Bolton earlier said Trump wished to meet Putin when the two visit Paris on November 11 for World War I commemorations.
During the press conference he said arrangements were being made for that meeting.
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