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Pompeo to Lavrov: Trump Administration doesn't recognize Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea

15 May 2019

At a joint press conference with Mr Pompeo in Sochi, southern Russia, Sergey Lavrov said that the United States was wrong to support the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.

"I conveyed that there are things that Russian Federation can do to demonstrate that these kinds of activities are a thing of the past".

"Negotiating with the present American government is doubly poisonous... they are not decent humans, they don't stand by anything", he said referring to the United States decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers.

"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran", Pompeo said during a visit to Russian Federation, a key backer of Tehran which has blamed the current crisis on Washington's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in May 2018. "He (Putin) understands that the U.S.is going to be in the lead, but I think there are places we can work together".

Ushakov said Putin and Pompeo also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, praising the interaction between the two sides over the issue. "If American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriation fashion", said Pompeo.

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United Nations inspectors have said Iran is complying with the deal, and Moscow last week denounced new U.S. sanctions on the country's mining industry, calling for new talks to save the nuclear accord.

President Vladimir Putin, who met Pompeo in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, pushed back, telling him that Russia never interfered in U.S. elections and that a report by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which he praised as being "objective overall", had found no evidence of collusion with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"Despite the exotic nature of Mr Mueller's commission, on the whole he conducted quite an objective investigation and confirmed the absence of any collusion between the USA administration and Russia", Putin said.

"It's clear such insinuations are absolutely fake", said Lavrov.

"It's not about 'moving on.' It's about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interests", he told reporters.

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During their almost two-hour talk in Putin's summer home, Pompeo said they spoke at length about North Korea, weeks after Putin held a summit with leader Kim Jong Un in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok.

As well as the issue of interference in US elections, the two sides clashed over Venezuela, with Lavrov sharply criticizing Washington for trying to undermine President Nicolas Maduro, who Pompeo said must step down in the face of an economic crisis and large-scale protests against his rule.

Russian Federation and the USA also do not see eye to eye when it comes to Syria, where government forces have been leading a major offensive against the last rebel-held province in recent weeks.

"We fundamentally don't seek war with Iran", Pompeo said.

Pompeo has led USA charges that Russian Federation is to blame for the continued rule of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a leftist firebrand whom Washington is seeking to oust.

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Pompeo to Lavrov: Trump Administration doesn't recognize Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea