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Mattis blasts Putin for trying to 'shatter' NATO

15th June 2018 - 23:28 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Washington


US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis assailed Russian President Vladimir Putin on 15 June, accusing him of attacking western democracy and trying to break up NATO.

Mattis's remarks came just hours after US President Donald Trump repeated his assertion that Russia should be invited back into the G7 group of industrialised nations, from which it was kicked out for annexing Crimea in 2014, an event he blamed on his predecessor Barack Obama.

Mattis said at a US Naval War College graduation ceremony in Rhode Island: ‘For the first time since World War II, Russia has been the nation that has redrawn international borders by force of arms in Georgia and Ukraine, while pursuing veto authority over their neighbours' diplomatic, economic and security decisions.

‘Putin seeks to shatter NATO. He aims to diminish the appeal of the western democratic model and attempts to undermine America's moral authority.’

The Pentagon chief added that Putin's actions were designed not to directly challenge America's military prowess, but rather ‘to undercut and compromise our belief in our ideals.’

Earlier on 15 June, Trump said Russia should be invited back to the negotiating table with other industrialised countries.

Trump told reporters: ‘A few years ago, Putin was in what was called the G8. I think it's better to have Russia in, than to have Russia out. Because just like North Korea, just like somebody else, it's much better if we get along with them than if we don't. So it's possible.’

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