By ALIX CULBERTSON RUSSIA is ready to cooperate with the United States despite being America’s “biggest national security threat”, Russia’s Security Council Secretary has claimed.
Nikolai Patrushev today said a further worsening of relations between Moscow and Washington is in the interests of neither side. The Kremlin official said: “As recent history shows, relations between Russia and the USA will sooner or later return to a normal level, all the more so since it is in the interests of neither Moscow nor Washington to have a further degradation (of relations).”
The former director of the Federal Security Service (FSS) after Vladimir Putin held the post, said Russia was keen to work with the US on an equitable basis.
His comments come despite the US upgrading its long-range missile system in response to Russia’s war preparations.
The US Army’s tactical missile system (ATACMS) will now be able to hit moving targets with pinpoint accuracy.
Yesterday Russia and NATO started separate drills with the Balkan nations of Serbia and Montenegro after the Russian envoy to NATO warned the Western allicen’s buildup could be harmful for other countries’ security.
He told Russian state media, Sputnik: “We are ready to work with the US partners on the basis of equality and mutual respect for each other’s interests.
“In the meantime, Russia is on the list among the major threats to US national security.
“The contemporary history experience has shown that sooner or later the US-Russian relations will get back on track, all the more since further deterioration of bilateral relations does not satisfy either Moscow’s or Washington’s interests.”
Russia and the US have been at odds for years. Relations between the two powers have become increasingly strained since President Putin assumed his third term in office in 2012.
Just two months after his re-election Russia angered the US when Russian general Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov said there was a possibility of a pre-emptive strike on missile defence sites in Eastern Europe in a bid to apply pressure on the US over Russia’s demands.
Seven months after Mr Putin resumed office Barack Obama imposed US travel and financial restrictions on “human rights abusers in Russia” which Mr Putin hit back at by banning US citizens from adopting children from Russia.
There have been multiple occasions since then of Russian fighter planes creeping into US air space.
Russia was also suspended from the G8 economic conference in 2014 over the action.
Two years of sanctions were also imposed on Russia by the US, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan, which froze the assets of Putin’s closest oligarchs.
The Russian military intervention in Syria on the side of the Syrian Government has caused further friction, with the US strongly condemning Russia’s air campaign on the country.