Mattis blasts Russia's 'brazen contempt' toward Ukraine

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis condemned Russia's recent attack on Ukrainian ships, and criticized China for "predatory economic behavior" during a speech Saturday at a defense forum in California.

"He is not recognizing that what he is doing is actually creating the animosity against his people", Mattis said.

Mattis said the relationship between the United States and Russian Federation has "no doubt" worsened amid Russia's continued efforts to intervene in the USA electoral process.

Mattis, 68, a former U.S. Marine Corps general, said the U.S. and it's allies would show respect for other nation's sovereignty while exercising "constructive vigilance".

Russia said the Ukrainian ships had breached the Russian border and conducted unsafe movements in spite of Russia's orders.

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"We are dealing with Putin's duplicitous violation of the INF Treaty", Mattis said. "[Putin] tried again to muck around in our elections this last month and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines", Mattis said.

"What we witnessed this weekend is yet another reckless Russian escalation" of what began with Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its ongoing support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, said outgoing U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley in response to the actions.

Russian Federation continues to violate worldwide agreements to which the United States cannot trust the leadership of this country. Putin has "continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes that must be defended", Mattis said, stressing he was unsure whether there were growing threats from Russian Federation.

"Mr. Putin clearly comes tight". In this December 1, the White house spokesman Sarah Sanders said that trump during an official dinner at the G20 summit still had an informal conversation with Putin. Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Putin at the summit just two days before they were scheduled to sit down.

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