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

04 December 2018

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.

"We are dealing with someone that we simply can not trust", Mattis said during a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.

"What we are seeing Putin do with his ripping up of global agreements. we're dealing with someone that we simply can not trust", the Pentagon chief added.

American politicians, including Donald Trump, voiced concerns prior to November that Russian Federation would try to meddle in the United States congressional elections. He added more generally, "It's his efforts to try to subvert democratic processes that must be defended".

Mattis also asserted that Russian Federation had interfered in the November midterm elections for Congress, though he gave no details nor provided any further evidence.

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

It was the first open military confrontation between the rivals since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and pro-Russian separatists in the east entered into conflict with Ukrainian forces. It also has prompted global concern and renewed Western criticism of Russian Federation.

Mattis did not make reference to President Donald Trump's recent announcement that the United States would be withdrawing from the treaty.

"There is no doubt the relationship has worsened".

"Mr. Putin is clearly a "slow learner" (an expression, often translated as" slowly thinking, " stupid", - ed.).

"He is not recognising that what he is doing is actually creating the animosity against his people. He's not acting in the best interests of the Russian people, and he is actually causing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to rearm".

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