- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018

New White House national security adviser John Bolton held a surprise meeting with Russia‘s ambassador at the White House Thursday amid high tensions between the two nations, telling Moscow‘s diplomat that relations won’t improve until the Kremlin addresses Russia‘s interference in the 2016 election and other crises.

Mr. Bolton met with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov for the first time “the state of the relationship between the United States and Russia,” the White House said.

“Ambassador Bolton reiterated that it is in the interest of both the United States and Russia to have better relations, but that this will require addressing our concerns regarding Russia‘s interference in the 2016 election, the reckless use of a chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, and the situations in Ukraine and Syria,” the statement said.

The Russia-controlled Sputnik news service quoted Mr. Antonov as saying that Russia and the U.S. need each other to work on boosting international security, adding that such cooperation “meets the interests of the Russian and American people.”

The U.S. launched missile strikes with Britain and France last weekend against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria as punishment for a gas attack that killed dozens of civilians on April 7. The U.S. blames Russia, the prime military backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, for allowing the chemical-weapons attack to occur.

Russia and Syria have denied the attack took place. President Trump on Monday decided to hold off on imposing new sanctions on Moscow in retaliation for the chemical-weapons attack

The U.S. also holds Russia responsible for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England.

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