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By Associated Press
1; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday seized Russian President Vladimir Putin and accused him of trying to “muck around” in the US election, double work in arms control and acting irresponsibly during last sailor’s confrontation with Ukraine.
Commenting on the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, Mattis said that the US-Russian relationship has deteriorated over the past two years.
“We are dealing with someone we simply can not trust,” he said. “There is no doubt that the relationship has worsened.”
Mattis did not make the statement that Russia was trying to disturb last month’s election and only added: “We are seeing continued efforts along these lines.” He added more generally: “It is his efforts to undermine democratic processes that must be defended.”
Due to Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors, President Donald Trump interrupted his plans to meet Putin at the weekend’s Argentina summit, but he said he was looking forward to meeting Putin soon. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called a broken Trump-Putin meeting, saying that it did not “help solve a number of important international issues”.
The shipping event escalated another dragon war that began in 2014 when Russia attached the Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and supported separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. It has also led to global concern and renewed Western criticism against Russia.
Mattis portrayed the latest event as evidence that the government’s defense strategy, announced a year ago, was correct in focussing from after 9/9 war against what Mattis has called a rise of “big power” competition with Russia and China .
Mattis, in a speech at the Reagan presidential library and during a Question Time and subsequent session, was thus unfavorable in his criticism of Putin. The question of how the United States can deter further Russian confrontations, the former Marine General put the debt of worsening relations all on the Russian president.
“This is a very complex situation because Mr Putin is a slow teacher,” said Mattis. “He does not acknowledge that what he’s doing is actually creating hostility to his people. He does not act in the best interests of the Russian people, and he actually causes NATO to recover” – a reference to increased defense spending by many European NATO members, as well as the implementation of major allied military exercises and billions of dollars in additional US spending on military education and activities in Europe.
“We are dealing with Putin’s dual violation of the INF Treaty,” said Mattis. He referred to the Nuclear Forces, 1987, between Washington and Moscow, as the White House has stated it intends to withdraw from soon.
The Trump administration claims that Russia has violated the treaty by producing and distributing land-based missiles the agreement had banned. Moscow denies possible crimes.
Mattis did not directly mention the administration’s intention to withdraw from the treaty, instead saying: “We will reuse our weapons-fighting efforts, but onus is in Russia.”