Russia is accusing the United States of seeking political and military dominance and blaming the West for international security crises, including the conflict in east Ukraine.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was forced to react after the US and its allies sought to bring Ukraine closer to the West, Reuters reported Friday.
“The United States and its allies have crossed all possible lines in their drive to bring Kiev into their orbit. That could not have failed to trigger our reaction,” he told an annual security conference in Moscow.
Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces said the US “decided to reshape the world to fit its needs” after declaring victory in the Cold War.
“Aiming at complete dominance, Washington stopped taking into account the interests of other countries and respect international law,” he said
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March after what it described as an “unconstitutional coup” in which street protests toppled a Moscow-allied Ukrainian president in Kiev after he ditched a deal to move closer to the European Union.
Separatist unrest then spread to eastern, Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine where fighting between Kiev’s troops and pro-Russian rebels has killed more than 6,000 people.
The West has said Moscow is driving the rebellion.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin repeated Moscow’s denials, saying Russian military forces were not in Ukraine and denying that Russia was providing troops and support for the rebels in east Ukraine.
Shoigu blamed the violence on Kiev and sought to dismiss Western criticism that Russia was forcibly remaking European borders, pointing in turn to Western military involvement in Serbia, Iraq and Libya.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the conference, attended by envoys from China, Iran, Pakistan and some of Russia’s regional allies, that Kiev had to deliver on its obligations under peace agreements reached in Minsk to “safeguard unity of the Ukrainian state”.
All three said Moscow saw the development of the US-led NATO missile shield in Europe as tilting the post-war balance of power and a threat to Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
Shoigu said Moscow was taking steps to counteract that.
NATO said that was “misleading and incorrect”, reiterating the system was defensive and not aimed against Russia.
Gerasimov told delegates the eastward expansion of NATO posed another major threat to Russia and criticized the alliance for boosting military exercises involving eastern members.
“It’s clear that measures taken by NATO to strengthen the bloc and increase its military capabilities are far from being defensive,” he said.
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