During a trip to Central Eastern Europe on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Vladimir Putin is a threat to democracies around the world.
According to Newsweek, Pompeo said:
“For a decade and a half, or a little bit more, too many in the West took a holiday. 1989 was a momentous time. I had the opportunity to experience it up close and personal. You all lived it here even more directly. And then in 1991 and 1992, more good came as the Soviet Union fell. And I think too many places—the United States and Europe—took a holiday, took our eye off the ball, didn’t recognize the risk.”
“Let me assure you that Vladimir Putin is intent on undermining democracies throughout the world. Make no mistake about it. We should be very candid about that. We should talk about the things that we can do together to make sure that our democracies are strong, that each of us takes care of our countries first and then works together to achieve good outcomes on behalf of freedom and liberty,” he continued.
Pompeo’s comments contrasted with Trump’s, who has said that the U.S. should work to improve their relationship with Russia. Pompeo is now on a trip around Europe where he is visiting formerly communist countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, that are now a part of the EU and NATO. Pompeo has stressed in all of these countries that he hopes the U.S. and its allies can solidify their ties to counter Russian influence.
Slovakia and Hungary are suspected of moving closer to Russia in recent years, and countries like Poland and Hungary are suspected of democratic backsliding.