Manila (CNN)The top US diplomat told his Russian counterpart that Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election has seriously damaged the relationship between the two countries.
Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum in the Philippines Monday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that “meddling in the elections is certainly a serious incident.”
“We talked about it in the discussion we had with Minister Lavrov yesterday — and trying to help them understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship between the US and the American people and the Russian people,” Tillerson said.
“(I said) this had created serious mistrust between our two countries and that we simply have to find some way to deal with that.”
Last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov hinted further retaliation could be coming, saying “if the US side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind.”
Speaking Monday, Tillerson said he discussed the pending removal of consular staff with Lavrov: “I told the foreign minister we had not made a decision regarding how we will respond to Russia’s request to remove US diplomatic personnel.”
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Tillerson said he would respond to the matter by September 1, adding that the US and Russia should find ways to work together.
“We have our differences, we’re going to have to continue to find a way to address those,” he said.
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