Photo Credit: The Presidential Press and Information Office, Kremlin
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Sochi

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Tuesday with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, where the two discussed a possible future meeting between the Russian leader and President Donald Trump.

The meeting was preceded by a three-hour discussion with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov; the two men then sat with President Putin.

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Secretary Pompeo told reporters at a news conference that he explained to Minister Lavrov the United States wants to avoid war with Iran, saying “we fundamentally don’t seek a war with Iran.”

Secretary Pompeo also urged Russia to end its support of Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro, and warned that “interference in American elections is unacceptable and if the Russians were engaged in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been.”

Russian presidential foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters that the talks were centered on Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela. The issues of Ukraine and human rights were not discussed, he said.

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