Vice President Mike Pence gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a nasty stare as they met to shake hands at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore last week, reportedly telling the authoritarian leader not to interfere in U.S. elections. The meeting between the two comes just weeks before the G20 Summit at the end of November set in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
In late July, the most concise implication against the Russian government surfaced as the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers with hacking into the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The illegal hacking is said to have released tens of thousands of communications in a sweeping effort by a Moscow to meddle in the election.
As White Special Counsel Robert Mueller is set to wrap up the now-18-month-long investigation into Russian election interference, lawmakers in Washington are now up in arms about the presumed pick for head of Interpol Russian Police Major General Aleksandr Prokopchuk in a time when most of the world is weary of Putin’s Kremlin.
AP reports that Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, said in a statement that the two “touched on the issues that will be discussed when President Trump and President Putin are both in Argentina.”
Nevertheless, one issue that is to come up is President Donald Trump’s presumed departure from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by former President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that kickstarted the arms reduction in the latter years of the Cold War. The Russian president reiterated at the ASEAN Summit to Vice President Pence that Moscow and Washington need to discuss the future of the INF treaty and also the 2011 New START arms-reduction agreement which put central limits on strategic arms between the U.S. and the Russian Federation.
While the treaty eliminated all short and intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their test launches, it did not regulate sea-launched missiles.