World Russia Says Tensions with US Getting Close to 'Dangerous' Confrontation
Climate is the only thing Russia and the US can agree on right now. That's how bad it's got
When Russia and the US agree on something, you know it must be serious. This week, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry traveled quietly to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Ruslan Edelgeriev, his aim was not to talk about the usual thorny issues -- cyber attacks and election meddling -- but a bigger, more existential threat that will affect them both: climate change. US-Russia relations tumbled to a low point under the presidency of Donald Trump.
Russia's top diplomat has warned that relations with the United States have deteriorated to the point of a potentially disastrous standoff between Washington and Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry held a board meeting Wednesday led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who discussed along with his colleagues the current state of the U.S.-Russia relationship. Following the talks, the ministry released a statement characterizing the participants' views of the tortured ties between the two powers.
Putin escapes accountability for chemical weapons use
The Biden administration is seemingly unwilling to expend the diplomatic capital to hold Putin accountable. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February urged Russia to comply with its CWC obligations and noted, "There can be no impunity. We must preserve international law against chemical weapons - or we risk normalizing their use." This language was echoed in the U.S. statement at last week's OPCW meeting with a request that Russia explain the Navalny poisoning.But words alone do not work with the former KGB spy master, who understands pushback mainly in terms of consequences.
"It was noted during the discussion that bilateral relations had approached a dangerous confrontational threshold through the fault of Washington," the ministry said, "who have provoked an unprecedented escalation between our states over the recent years."
The ministry warned Moscow was already engaged in a de facto conflict with Washington, which would only face stiffer resistance.
"Russia is subjected to unprecedented pressure that the U.S. pulls its allies into, introducing a strong ideological component to the standoff with Moscow," the ministry said. "This line by Washington, which blatantly violates international law, will continue to come up against unwavering opposition as far as protecting Russia's legitimate interests goes."
Russia Says It Became an Enemy of the U.S. a Decade Ago
Moscow's envoy to Washington, D.C, Anatoly Antonov, accused the U.S. of using Ukraine as a "tool" to pressure the Kremlin.In a TV interview, Anatoly Antonov also criticized the Biden administration's approach to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the critics of which fear will give Moscow a strategic advantage.
The harsh assessment came a day after Russian ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov identified what he saw as "a lack of confidence, a lack of trust between the United States and Russia" in an interview with Moscow's state-run RT outlet.
"I am trying to find a day when Russia has become an enemy or a rival for the United States and it is rather difficult to say when it happened," Antonov said. "It seems to me that maybe it was 10 years ago but not when the Ukrainian crisis starts."
The U.S.-Russia rivalry dates back at least to the Cold War, but the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s saw initial steps toward cooperation between Washington and Moscow, even after Presidentfirst came to power at the turn of the century.
A decade ago would mark a crucial moment in the great power feud when theand then Western incursions into Syria were perceived by Russia as undue interference abroad. The 2014 uprising in Ukraine also proved a pivotal point as a leader resisting Western overtures was overthrown and Russia stepped in directly to secure its interests in the Crimean Peninsula, and was accused by Kyiv of supporting pro-Moscow separatists in the east as part of a still-ongoing conflict.
Kremlin says Biden is wrong to say that Russia only has nuclear weapons and oil
Kremlin says Biden is wrong to say that Russia only has nuclear weapons and oilBiden made the remark on Tuesday during a speech in which he warned that if the United States ended up in a "real shooting war" with a "major power" it could be the result of a significant cyber attack on the country, highlighting what Washington sees as growing threats posed by Russia and China.
The U.S. and Russia today find themselves at odds on a number of international hot topics from the war in Syria, cybersecurity and attempts to improve strategic stability between the world's top two nuclear weapons powers.
All of these topics were on the agenda when U.S. Presidentset out to establish a "stable, predictable relationship" with Putin during their summit last month.
Biden revealed during atown hall on Wednesday that meeting the Russian leader, who he has previously sat down while serving as vice president under former President as U.S.-Russia tensions soured a decade ago, was the first time he truly felt was "the leader of the free world,"
"He knows who I am. I know who he is," Biden said.
It comes at a time when Ukraine has againbetween and Russia as the former pursued the annual Exercise Sea Breeze maneuvers in the Black Sea. Washington and its allies have deemed the training as routine, while Moscow has branded the move a test of its claims of its claimed borders, resulting in a spat of international incidents between the two sides.
Nord Stream 2 Deal Will Finish Project, Not Include U.S. Sanctions for Germany, Russia
The completion of the pipeline that will transport gas from Russia to Europe is opposed by Ukraine and Poland. As part of the deal, the U.S. and Germany will make concessions to the two countries, according to Congressional aides, who spoke with the AP, briefed on some of the deal's details that could potentially be announced Wednesday. Your browser does not support this video President Joe Biden's administration views the pipeline as a threat to energy security in Europe and previously imposed sanctions on some individuals involved in its construction.
Also on Wednesday, the White House announced Bide is scheduled to host his Ukrainian counterpart on August 30.
"The visit will affirm the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea, our close cooperation on energy security, and our backing for President Zelenskyy's efforts to tackle corruption and implement a reform agenda based on our shared democratic values," the White House said in a statement.
The geopolitical dispute over Ukraine has also leaked into Europe's energy politics and Russia and U.S. ally Germany pressed on with their Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a new gas artery that would bypass the longstanding Ukraine route to service Western Europe.
Last week, Biden hosted German Chancellorfor a bilateral meeting in which the U.S. leader expressed concerns over Russia's potential to leverage Ukraine's energy needs for political purposes. Berlin has stated its intention to go on with the project anyway, while Washington has sought assurances that the new pipeline would not provide Moscow an avenue to cut off Kyiv.
The White House said Wednesday the U.S. and Germany had agreed on a package satisfactory to both sides.
China Backs Cuba in Saying US Should Apply Sanctions To Itself
"The U.S. should first and foremost examine its own human rights issues, instead of wielding the big stick of sanctions, grossly interfering in other's internal affairs and creating division or confrontation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.Speaking Friday at a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian asserted that his country "firmly supports the efforts of the Cuban government and people to maintain social stability" as President Joe Biden doubles down to pressure Cuba in the wake of historic protests in the island nation.
"Germany will help to preserve gas transit revenues for Ukraine and buy time for Ukraine to eliminate its dependence on Russian gas and transit fees, as it has long sought to do, including with U.S. support," White House Press Secretarytold reporters. "Germany will do this by committing to appoint a special envoy to use all its available leverage to negotiate an extension to Ukraine's gas transit agreement with Russia."
The Biden administration has interpreted this understanding to mean that Merkel would institute economic restrictions against Putin.
"Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine," a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday, "Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector, and that includes gas and/or other economically relevant sectors."
Biden later told the press he had secured a "commitment" from Merkel to respond against Russia if necessary.
Moscow, for its part, had previously expressed skepticism toward such an arrangement.
Speaking to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency earlier that same day amid speculation that the U.S. and Germany would come toward an agreement involving threats of action against Russia, Lavrov said this sort of deal would be "unacceptable" as it had no formal backing from theSecurity Council.
Lavrov said that the U.S. and its European allies were "quite often carried away by sanctions."
"They are no longer interested in the culture of diplomacy or talks. In fact, they are losing it," Lavrov said. "They want instant results."
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