Mattis: Russia tried to interfere in 2018 midterms

Mattis: Russia tried to interfere in 2018 midterms

Mattis: Russia tried to interfere in 2018 midterms

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis condemned Russia's recent attack on Ukrainian ships, and criticized China for "predatory economic behavior" during a speech Saturday at a defense forum in California. He recognizes that what he does is actually creates hostility against his people.

Mattis also touched on the situation in the Kerch Strait with Russia's seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors, which the US President Donald trump has canceled a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

Notably calling President Vladimir Putin out by name, Mattis said that Putin's actions have become a catalyst for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to "rearm and to strengthen" on a unified and democratic level.

Last week, US Ambassador Nikki Haley to the United Nations accused Russian Federation of "outlaw actions" and an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory" while addressing an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

During the forum, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Russian Federation will continue to undermine its neighbors, but also the United States in order to project its strength. "We are seeing a continued effort around those lines".

The decision to scrap the meeting with Putin came shortly after Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge of lying to Congress about a skyscraper project Trump was pursuing in Moscow during the 2016 USA presidential race.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Saturday confirmed Trump's encounter with Putin in Argentina in a statement, saying, "As is typical at multilateral events, President Trump and the first lady had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner last night, including President Putin". "I think the opportunity is to sit down and directly confront an adversary", Panetta said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the canceled Trump-Putin meeting a missed opportunity, saying it didn't "help settling a number of important global problems".

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