Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, has given an interview to Interfax on Russia-US relations following the Crimean annexation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published it on their own website (in Russian) and translated below. – Ed.
Question: Relations with the US are going through perhaps the worst period in the last 20 years. Washington is winding up cooperation in a number of areas. In your opinion, how long will Russian-American relations be in such a crisis?
Reply: In recent days, there have been a flood of signals from Washington about how the US Administration is changing the whole picture of dialogue and cooperation with us in the most diverse fields, against the backdrop of events in the Crimea, and in fact this concerns not only the key elements of the bilateral agenda (and there are quite a few problems there — from humanitarian, consular questions on resolution of the situation with government aviation flights and the restoration of exhibition exchanges). In trying to demonstrate their dislike of the free expression of will of the population of the Crimea and our taking decisions there in that regard, Washington is disrupting contacts where the continuation of dialogue in our view is in the interests of the USA itself.
It reaches the point of humorous situations, when, for example, working meetings of weather forecasters are cancelled. NASA just now announced that it is ending cooperation with Roskosmos in all respects with the exception of the support of the functionion of the International Space Station. Yes, and with regard to this, there is the firm intention to more quickly “free themselves from independence,” in which the USA has supposedly fallen by enjoying the decades-long form of cooperation with us in the area of piloted launches.
Well, what can be done, that’s the American choice. Obviously, the USA leadership is “really fed up” and simply cannot calm itself down in this new situation which has emerged largely as a consequence of a targeted line by USA and its allies in Europe themselves on the preparation of the coming to power in Ukraine of anti-Russian-minded forces.
What can we advise our American colleagues? To spend more time in the fresh air, take up yoga, a food separation diet, perhaps watch some sit-coms on television. That would be better than to “wind up” oneself and others, knowing in fact that the train has left the station, and childish tantrums, tears and hysterics will not help.
Question: what is your comment on the US decision to stop cooperation with Russia in the area of anti-missile defense?
Reply: We have noted the media reports about the official statements of the USA Defense Ministry at hearings in the relevant committee of the Senate on 25 March. We understand that the continuation of cooperation with Russia in the area of anti-missile defense is under question.
I must say that there isn’t any cooperation anyway in that area. As is well known to the Americans, possibilities for such cooperation can appear, if Washington were to heed to our demand to provide reliable, legally-binding guarantees of non-targeting against Russia of the global anti-missile defense system created by the USA together with its NATO allies and some countries in the Asian region, and also in the Middle East.
Apparently, now such a posing of the question has lost its relevance as a consequence of the USA line to aggravate bilateral relations with Russia. It is possible in time America will realize there is no alternative to the approach we have proposed, of course, if Washington’s policy will not be totally dominated by an effort to achieve the creation of such an anti-missile “resource” which will begin to devalue the Russian potential of strategic nuclear deterrence.
We, of course, advocate that political expedience and a cheap striving to “get back” for the solving of problems not according to American templates, which do not relate to anti-missile defense, do not eclipse the basic premise for supporting strategic parity and stability.
If the task of strengthening global security will be sacrificed to geopolitical ambitions and the irresistable desire to go on engaging in political and social engineering many thousands of kilometers from the USA, then the possibility of Russian-American cooperation in the area of anti-missile defense will have to be forgotten.
In that case, we will do everything so that no anti-missile forces of the USA lead to the weaking of the abilities of Russia in the area of nuclear deterrence.