Top Russian officials have blasted the U.S. defence and security policies even as Russia’s security chief was in Washington discussing ways to improve relations between the two countries.
“Lack of trust remains a holdover of the Cold War… the missile defence is an acute problem [and] the unilateral buildup of missile capabilities create serious obstacles for implementation of undivided European security,” Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said opening an international security conference in Moscow on Thursday.
The two-day conference, titled “Military and Political Aspects of European Security”, has brought together more than 200 senior defence officials from Russia, Europe the U.S. and Canada, as well as military and political experts.
The conference opened a day after U.S. President Barack Obama “reaffirmed his desire to strengthen the bilateral relationship, including U.S.-Russian economic ties”. Moscow, however, sees a big mismatch between Washington’s words and deeds.
“The logic of [the West’s] unilateral steps still prevails, without taking into account the views and concerns of other countries,” Sergei Ivanov, chief of the Kremlin administration, said at the Moscow conference adding the Western approach undermined even-handed security and mutual trust.
Russian Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said Moscow would only agree to further cuts in its nuclear arsenals if it gets proof that the U.S. global missile defence does not pose a threat to Russia and if Washington agrees to a cap on non-nuclear high-precision weapons. If the U.S. pushes ahead with its global missile shield, Moscow may exit the new Start treaty signed in 2010, General Gerasimov said.