US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis

The leaders of US and Russia will not meet this fall, as the White House previously proposed, and instead will have to wait until next year, according to the US president’s national security advisor.

“The president believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” John Bolton told reporters Wednesday, as reported by CNBC.

The initial invitation extended to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which came shortly after a much criticized summit in Helsinki, caused a stir in Washington, with leadership in both houses of Congress voicing displeasure.

The Kremlin was also somewhat cautious about the prospect of a get together so soon after the first summit.

“There are other options [besides a meeting in the fall] which our leaders can look at,” Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters this week, according to a report from Reuters.

Meanwhile, during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was busy convincing lawmakers that the Trump administration was “tough” on Russia.

While Trump had previously equivocated that “we’re going to have to see” when asked whether the US would recognize Crimea as a part of Russia, Pompeo seemed to contradict the president, suggesting the administration was not wavering on the issue.

“The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea,” Pompeo said in a statement released before his testimony.

“Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community,” the statement added.

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