US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he brought up the issue of ‘Russian interference’ in US elections with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Finland. There was no confirmation of this from Moscow, however.
The two diplomats had a “good conversation” on the sidelines of the Arctic Council meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland on Monday, Pompeo told Reuters, adding that he brought up the subject of the Russian “interference” in US elections.
Asked to elaborate, Pompeo said he told Lavrov “the same thing I’ve shared with him each time we’ve had a chance to cover that particular topic, which is that it’s not appropriate.”
Last week, US President Donald Trump said he did not raise “meddling” in his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, driving the ‘Russiagate’-obsessed US mainstream media into a frenzy.
Lavrov, however, told reporters the talks did not focus on “political statements made for public consumption,” since such statements are “influenced by too many things, as a rule not related to real politics.”
“We tried to focus on real politics, and succeeded,” he added.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not officially comment on Pompeo’s remarks about alleged election meddling – an article of faith in Washington, underpinning the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory since 2016 – but an unnamed diplomatic source told the TASS news agency that the topic was not raised in the meeting, and that “the Russian side was surprised by such a statement” by the top US diplomat.