Top Russia diplomat: At least during the Cold War, there was ‘mutual respect’ with US
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday compared the current tense relations with the U.S. to the Cold War, but said that at least then, “there was also a mutual respect.”
During a Russian state television interview, Lavrov said Moscow is still open to normalizing ties with Washington, but that the U.S. would have to stop behaving like a “sovereign” and rallying its allies against Russia, the Associated Press reports.
“During the Cold War, the tensions were flying high, and risky crisis situations often emerged, but there was also a mutual respect,” Lavrov said. “It seems to me there is a deficit of it now.”
Tensions have risen sharply between Russia and the U.S. over the Kremlin’s interference in American elections, Moscow’s alleged involvement in the SolarWinds hack and, more recently, the buildup of Russian military forces at the Ukrainian border.
The State Department announced last week it received word that Russia would be withdrawing its troops from that border.
During a national speech last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West against crossing a “red line.”
“If someone interprets our good intentions as indifference or weakness and is willing to cross a red line, they should know that Russia’s response would be asymmetric, fast and tough,” Putin said.
The Biden administration recently issued multiple sanctions against Russia for its cybersecurity attacks and influencing U.S. elections.
The administration also expelled 10 personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission in D.C. At the time, senior White House officials said the administration was prepared to go further if Russia continued its malicious activities against the U.S.
Russia quickly responded by ordering 10 U.S. diplomats to leave. The Russian government also banned the U.S. Embassy from hiring Russian nationals and people from third-party countries. Lavrov said on Wednesday that a list of those countries would be released soon, the AP reports.
However, Lavrov also said Moscow had a “positive” attitude towards a proposed summit between Biden and Putin. The AP reports that the Russian minister said he would be attending a meeting of top diplomats from Arctic countries in Iceland next month and would be open to meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken if he attends.