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US-Russia relations now worse than Cold War era, Russia’s top diplomat says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (en.Kremlin.ru/Released/TNS)
May 05, 2021

Last week, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said relations between the United States and Russia are now worse than they were during the Cold War era.

Head of the Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, Dmitry Kiselyov said during an April 28 interview with Lavrov, “Our relations with the United States are really ‘hell.’ Personally, I don’t recall them being at such a low ebb ever before. This is even worse than the Cold War times, in my opinion. Ambassadors have returned back to their home countries. What’s going to happen next? What is the possible scenario?”

“In my opinion, tension did run high during the Cold War and there were numerous high-risk conflict situations, but there was also mutual respect. I believe that this is lacking now,” Lavrov said. He also accused the U.S. of rallying other western nations to oppose Russia and China.

“Nothing good will come out of this unless the United States stops acting as a sovereign,” Lavrov said, adding that if the U.S. refuses, “We will be living in conditions of a Cold War, or even worse.”

Lavrov said U.S.-Russia relations began to worsen with the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama. Lavrov said Russia waited for relations to normalize under President Donald Trump’s administration. “The Trump administration asked us to disregard the excessive measures taken by the outgoing Obama administration. However, Donald Trump’s team failed to normalise the situation, and so we had to take reciprocal measures.”

Lavrov said under President Joe Biden, the U.S.-Russian diplomatic relationship “continues to go downhill.”

The exchange between Lavrov and Kiselyov comes just weeks after Biden ordered a series of new sanctions against Russia and expelled 10 Russian diplomats. Russia responded a day later by expelling 10 U.S. diplomats from Russia.

Lavrov further criticized the new sanctions during his Wednesday interview.

“There have been some schizophrenic notes in the statements made by some of the Washington officials,” Lavrov said. “White House press secretary Jen Psaki said just a while ago that sanctions against Russia would be continued, that they are producing, by and large, a desired effect, and that their objective is not to ‘escalate’ with Russia. Even I am at a loss about how to comment on this. I hope anyone can see that such statements are doing no credit to those who are upholding and promoting this policy.”

Lavrov did go on to say Russian President Vladimir Putin did have a “positive view” of a proposal by Biden to hold a meeting.