U.S. foreign minister Mike Pompeo has visited Russia to meet with his counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin after a special U.S. investigation documented extensive election meddling by Russia, in particular by manipulating social media.
«Interference in American elections is unacceptable. If Russia engaged in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been,» French news agency AFP cited U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo as saying in a press conference in Sochi.
«I conveyed that there are things that Russia can do to demonstrate that these kinds of activities are a thing of the past. I hope that Russia takes advantage of those opportunities,» the U.S. top diplomat stated.
Lavrov responded by criticising «those who are inflating this topic» and saying of collusion: «It’s clear that such insinuations are absolute fiction.»
The Pompeo-Lavrov press conference on video, starting from minute 18.
The U.S. Secretary of State also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss chances of ending the Syrian civil war, as well as diplomatic crises in Iran and Venezuela. Putin’s adviser Yuri Ushakov said they did not touch on Ukraine, where Russia’s backing of separatist rebels and the land-grab of Ukraine’s Crimea have prompted U.S. sanctions.