Putin Slaps Washington
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
It was long overdue, not tough enough, but a justifiable response to hostile US actions toward Russia – flagrantly unacceptable.
Washington has 1,210 diplomats and staff in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok – 755 ordered out by September 1, embassy and consular staff reduced to 455 people, the same number of Russian personnel in America.
Washington’s southern Moscow warehouses and Serebryany Bor property were frozen, access by US personnel suspended as of August 1.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said “unilateral actions (by Washington) to reduce the number of our diplomats in the US will be followed by a tit-for-tat response.”
“We reserve the right on other mutual measures, which can affect US interests.”
Interviewed on Russian television, Putin explained the move he authorized as necessary, saying “(b)ecause the American side once again made an absolutely ungrounded…step to deteriorate the Russian-US relations, imposing illegal restrictions and trying to press other countries, including its allies, which are interested in the development and maintaining of relations with Russia,” he had to respond.
“We have been waiting for quite a long time for any positive changes (in Washington toward Russia). We have hoped that the situation will change somehow.”
“But, to all appearances, even if it ever changes, it will not be soon. I thought we must demonstrate that we are not going to leave anything unanswered…”
Further steps may follow, he explained. Russia has many options. It’ll do what’s appropriate in response to hostile US acts.
Except for joint space activities, bilateral relations are in shambles. Irreconcilable differences separate both countries on key geopolitical issues, including combating terrorism.
Russia combats what America supports. Strains in bilateral relations escalated following the US orchestrated coup in Ukraine, Nazi-infested putschists replacing democratic governance Washington opposed.
After Crimea’s reunification with Russia, correcting a historic error, the Obama administration halted cooperation with Moscow in many areas of mutual interest.
Illegal sanctions were imposed on Russian individuals and entities. Moscow responded appropriately, including by suspending cooperation on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium, along with two nuclear physics research programs – because of a “threat to strategic stability stemming from unfriendly (US) actions.”
In late 2016, more illegal US sanctions were imposed on Russia, along with expelling 35 of its diplomats and seizure of its compounds in New York and Maryland – flagrantly violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In January, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev blasted Obama, saying bilateral Russia/US relations “completely fell apart” during his second term.
The imperial “interests of the United States” come at the expense of other countries. Calling US actions contemptuous and arrogant, Medvedev stressed how sanctions and other provocations “reduced (bilateral) cooperation to zero.”
“The Obama administration has destroyed relations between the United States and Russia, which are at their lowest point in decades. This is its key foreign policy mistake which will be remembered by history.”
Things deteriorated further under Trump following baseless accusations of Russian US election hacking – a disgraceful fabrication, a pretext to take bilateral relations to the lowest point since the depths of the Cold War.
Russia wants cooperative relations with all nations. Unacceptable US hostility makes improving bilateral ties unattainable – a deplorable situation likely to deteriorate further.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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