13:46 GMT +324 March 2019
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    Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev (second from right) and US National Security Adviser John Bolton during a meeting in Moscow.

    Bolton Mulls New Contacts Between Washington and Moscow

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    The last major contact between Russian and US officials took place in October 2018, when the US president's national security adviser arrived in Moscow to discuss Syria and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

    US National Security Adviser John Bolton suggested that new contacts could be established with Russian authorities in the future, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the newspaper, the announcement was made by Bolton during his visit to Jerusalem, where he discussed the situation in Syria and the possible resurgence of Daesh*.

    Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was no longer engaged in the course of US foreign policy towards Russia. Rather, Lavrov believes that National Security Adviser John Bolton has been given this responsibility instead.

    Bolton last visited Russia on 21-23 October to discuss the situation in Syria and the future of the INF Treaty. He passed on Washington's concerns about Moscow allegedly violating the provisions of the agreement and warned that US President Donald Trump was planning to abandon the treaty if these alleged violations wouldn't stop.

    READ MORE: Putin to Bolton: Russia Surprised With Unfriendly US Moves

    Moscow rejected the US allegations and assured that it was strictly observing the provisions of the INF Treaty. Russia condemned the American plans to abandon the treaty, warning that such a move would endanger international security and could lead to a new arms race.

    Relations between Washington and Moscow have been in decline since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, but were further worsened by the US' unfounded accusations of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Washington has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions against Russian politicians and economic entities over the accusations, as well as over Moscow's alleged participation in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    READ MORE: Bolton Warns Russia of Chinese Missiles That Threaten Its 'Heartland' — Reports

    Moscow has firmly denied all of Washington's accusations and imposed tit-for-tat sanctions against the US in return, banning the imports of meat, fish and seafood, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. 

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia

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    contacts, US-Russian relations, Sergei Lavrov, John Bolton, United States, Russia
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