Destruction of US-Russia ties

Destruction of US-Russia ties
In a strongly worded statement Russia has called on US to stop “the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations”. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has met with..

In a strongly worded statement Russia has called on US to stop “the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations”.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has met with U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon to discuss relations between the two nations.

Background

Russian Federation is the successor state to the Soviet Union. Before its dissolution, Soviet Union and the US were the key factions in world politics. They were briefly allies during the World War II but by the end of the war, they had become hostile. Brewing mistrust was one of the main reasons for the Cold War.

The end of Cold War and the dissolution of Soviet Union (as well as the creation of Russia) seemingly brought an end to a period of uncertainty and turmoil. Relations even improved between the two nations during the tenure of Russia's President Boris Yeltsin but it took a significant step back under Putin.

Relations between Russia and the US deteriorated in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. It cited a controversial referendum for doing so. As a result, Barack Obama and his EU allies unveiled a coordinated set of sanctions against Russia and ordered it to leave Crimea. Russia responded with counter-sanctions.

Russia’s alleged interference in the US Presidential elections has further caused tensions in the ties. Despite Russia’s repeated denials, US imposed harsh sanctions on Russia. In retaliation, Russia announced that 755 US diplomats would have to leave Russia by September 1, 2017.

Analysis

U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met in Finland. The purpose of their meeting was to discuss how tensions between the two nations can be calmed. Shannon is the third highest ranking member of the US State Department. He had already met with Ryabkov to discuss bilateral ties between the countries earlier in July.

The two men released a statement after the meeting in September 2017 noting, “We called for a stop to the destruction of Russia-U.S. relations and ... to start finding solutions to resolve problems that are mounting through no fault of ours.”

Russia released an additional statement separately that differed from the joint statement in both its intent and the wording. The nation has shirked any responsibility thereby shifting the blame on the US for the deterioration of the ties. A statement from the Russian foreign ministry read, “We urged them to stop destroying Russian-American relations and undermining international law, and to occupy themselves with solving problems that have arisen not due to any fault of our own.”

In July 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he didn’t expect relations between the two nations to recover any time in the near future.

Assessment

Our assessment is that relations between US and Russia are unlikely to recover in the coming months. Russia has already signaled its intent to retaliate to US’ orders to close down the Russian embassy in San Francisco. According to some reports, Russia is looking to cut more US diplomats from its country. 

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