Mattis: Putin 'tried again to muck around in our elections'

Russia's President Vladimir Putin is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri back upon his arrival for a bilateral meeting at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires Argentina Saturday Dec. 1 2018

US Defence Sec Calls Putin'Slow Learner, Alleges Recent Election Meddling

The originally scheduled meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit was cancelled with the White House citing the Russian-Ukrainian animosity as the reason.

Mattis said the relationship between the United States and Russian Federation has "no doubt" worsened amid Russia's continued efforts to intervene in the U.S. electoral process.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday that Russian Federation tried to meddle in the US midterm elections last month - just as it did in the 2016 vote that brought President Donald Trump to power.

That comment reiterated those he made several days prior that Russia's attack upon and seizure of three Ukrainian ships violated worldwide law.

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In addition, Mattis said that Russian Federation attempted to intervene in the mid-term elections in the United States last month - just like in 2016.

He also praised Trump's decision to increase USA troop levels in Afghanistan last year, and said that "for the first time in 17 years, the United Nations believes we have hope for peace".

"This is a very complex situation because Mr. Putin is clearly a slow learner", Mattis said at a defence forum in California on Saturday, commenting on alleged Russian aggression.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Russian President Vladimir Putin "tried to muck around" in November's midterm elections, amid increasingly tense relations between the USA and Russia.

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Mattis said, in the Indo-Pacific region, we keep our decades-old alliances strong by building new partnerships.

Now more than ever, it's time to send "a clear message" to Putin, Panetta said Saturday.

While Trump spoke briefly with Putin on the sidelines of the summit, he chose to cancel the two leaders' formal meeting.

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