John Bolton and Anatoly Antonov met on Thursday in the White House to discuss ways of improving the relationship between the two countries, greatly strained amidst accusations of Russian tampering in the US elections in 2016.
Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to the United States, has earlier stated that the United States and Russia need to work together on maintaining the international security and that partnership between them “meets the interests of the Russian and American people.”
Bolton, who recently took over the position of the national security advisor from H. R. McMaster, is known for his hawkish attitude towards North Korea and Iran. He said that before the relationship could improve, Russia must address several of the most pressing issues, namely election meddling, nerve gas attack in the United Kingdom and situations in Syria and Ukraine.
The US intelligence services have claimed that Russia is behind a systematic campaign aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential campaign, something both Presidents Trump and Putin have vehemently denied.
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and EU for its support of Ukrainian rebels and annexation of Crimean Peninsula are still in effect and have severely impacted Russian economy, with BDP seeing a dramatic downfall.
Russian spy Sergei Skripal’s poisoning in Salisbury has driven another wedge between Russia and the West. The UK has accused Kremlin of perpetrating the attack on British soil and Washington has supported its allies, stating that the situation must be resolved as soon as possible.
Finally, the Russian support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a long-standing dispute point between Moscow and Washington and the recent attack involving chemical weapons in Syria has deepened the divide, with US military going on record that it holds Russia responsible for it.
Antonov has denied all of these allegations, saying that Russia is seeking a partnership with the United States.