Trump aide John Bolton tells Russia: 'Don't mess with US elections'

23 October 2018, 18:11 | Updated: 23 October 2018, 20:05

Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton has said alleged Russian meddling in US elections had backfired on Moscow.

Speaking at a news conference in Russia, he also said Donald Trump would meet Vladimir Putin next month despite ongoing tensions after the American president threatened to pull out of a Cold War-era nuclear deal.

Mr Bolton said the leaders would meet again in Paris on 11 November - when they visit France for First World War commemorations - following "very comprehensive and productive" talks with officials in Russia.

He said Mr Trump looked forward to the meeting and that arrangements would be made to ensure it took place.

Mr Bolton said he had lengthy discussions with the Russian president about alleged meddling in US elections, explaining that it was counter-productive for Moscow.

"We discussed our continuing concern with Russian meddling in elections and why it was particularly harmful for Russian-American relations without producing anything in return," said Mr Bolton.

He said there was no evidence any meddling affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential race but said it created mistrust towards Moscow.

Russia has denied interfering with elections. However, the US aide said Washington was "monitoring potential foreign interference in our elections very closely" ahead of November's midterm elections.

Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said the meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Bolton was "interesting" but added the American's presence displayed Washington's willingness to maintain a dialogue with Moscow.

He said: "The discussion was business-like in nature, it was fairly substantive, I would say it was interesting.

"We view Mr Bolton's visit as a sign the Trump administration, despite the overall situation with our relations, is ready to maintain dialogue. We also have the same readiness and intention."

Mr Bolton said he also spoke to Mr Putin about arms control and the US president's decision to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was drawn up to protect America and its allies in Europe and the Far East, because of alleged violations by Moscow.

The agreement - signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1987 - is meant to prohibit the countries from possessing, producing or testing any ground-launched cruise missiles with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

The national security adviser described it as "a Cold-War bilateral treaty in a multipolar world" that failed to cover the activities of countries such as China and North Korea.

He repeated claims Russia had violated the agreement, which Moscow denies. Moscow claims Washington has violated the treaty.

Mr Bolton said a formal notice of withdrawal from the agreement had not yet been filed.