Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a former president once viewed as a comparatively pro-Western alternative to Vladimir Putin, warned in a Bloomberg Television interview that the U.S. and Russia are “slowly but surely approaching a second Cold War.”
The two countries have seen a rapid increase in tensions over the Ukraine crisis. The U.S. and NATO accuse Russia of fomenting unrest in the country and have slapped sanctions on various Russian individuals and politicians. Russia maintains that the current Ukrainian government is fascist and illegitimate.
This use of U.S. and European sanctions against Russia was particularly troubling to Medvedev. He claimed that sanctions had never been used against Soviet politicians during the Cold War.
I’d like to remind you that no sanctions were introduced against MPs even in the most difficult periods of US-Soviet relations, like during the Cuban missile crisis or when the decision to deploy troops in Afghanistan was taken. We maintained contacts at the top political level. By enacting such sanctions, our US and European partners are destroying the very fabric of international relations.
Medvedev also cautioned against placing ideology above economic relations, stating that several unnamed American and European CEOs have personally expressed to the Russian prime minister their displeasure with being barred from doing business.
Relations between Russia and the U.S. are unlikely to improve in the near future. Putin has ordered soldiers on the Ukrainian border to return to their bases, but the U.S. and NATO said they saw no evidence of a pullback.
Ukraine is already deeply fractured. Crimea is firmly in Russian hands and two regions in eastern Ukraine have used questionable referendums to attempt to secede from the country.
Ukraine is set to hold nationwide elections on May 25. The U.S. has already threatened to make the Russian economy “bleed” if it attempts to disrupt the election in any way.
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