Published: Thu, August 03, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US VP Pence calls Russian Federation "threat" while hoping for better ties

US VP Pence calls Russian Federation

First stop on Pence's tour was the small but strategic country of Estonia. We stand with the people and nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This is because it borders Russia - St. Petersburg is within 150 kilometers (93 miles) of the Estonian border - and because ethnic Russians make up almost 25 percent of the population. The "Zapad", or "West", war games will be the largest military exercises Russian Federation has held since the fall of the Soviet Union, according to the New York Times.

President Donald Trump grudgingly accepted new congressional sanctions on Russian Federation, the top USA diplomat said on Tuesday, remarks in contrast with those of Vice President Mike Pence, who said the bill showed Trump and Congress speaking "with a unified voice".

Later Monday, Pence met with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops from Britain, France and the United States that are stationed in Estonia.

President Hashim Thaci wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday that he had a "very friendly and also constructive meeting" with Pence on the sidelines of a US -backed Balkan summit in Montenegro.

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While such commitments offer some relief to Estonia and the other Baltic countries, they haven't completely assuaged their concerns. The alliance has deployed some 4,000 troops and military hardware in the three Baltic states and Poland to counter Russia's presence in the Baltic Sea region.

"We hope for better days and better relations with Russia", Pence told reporters. Milacic recalled that the USA strikes killed three Montenegrin children then and no one has been held responsible for the atrocity to this day. Grybauskaite said she and other Baltic leaders were happy to see the US supported them "not only in words but in real deeds".

Pence also insisted again that Trump is gearing up to approve new punitive measures against Russian Federation that have already pushed battered ties with Moscow still lower. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, attends a meeting with Georgia opposition leaders in Tbilisi, Georgia, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. At a joint press conference, Pence noted that Russian Federation occupies one-fifth of Georgian Territory.

Congratulating Montenegro on its recent NATO membership, Pence said "We cherish our new alliance with Montenegro through NATO.We consider the accession to NATO to be an historic achievement of Montenegro and a sign of the strength of this country ten years after its independence", he stressed.

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On Wednesday, in a 19-minute address to leaders at the Adriatic Charter Summit meeting, the vice president called Russian Federation an "unpredictable country that casts a shadow from the east". The hosting of the summit by Montenegro is particularly significant.

Pence is the first vice president and highest ranking official to visit Montenegro in 100 years.

Pence made it clear in his comments that the United States is sending the message to Russian leadership that it will no longer tolerate their "rogue regimes".

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