Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the U.S. for pushing the countries into another Cold War. Among other things, Putin said the U.S. government’s unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 was a significant step that worsened relations between the nations.
Answering a question about whether the conflict in Ukraine would lead to another Cold War, Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Friday that regional military conflicts cannot initiate a Cold War but decisions with global ramifications can. With respect to Russia-U.S. relations, the state-funded network RT quoted him as saying: “The problem is that they are constantly trying to impose their standards and decisions on us with no regard to our interests. In essence, they say, ‘We are better,’ as if the U.S. knows better what is good for us.”
The Russian president said his country would make its own decisions. He added that the country’s culture and history would dictate its moves.
In contrast, Putin said, the American government was speaking the language of ultimatums when talking with Russia. He said the U.S. was attempting to create a situation wherein Russia could be either with it or against it.
As Russia’s state-owned Sputnik News reported, the ABM Treaty between the Soviet Union and the U.S. in 1972 was designed to avoid “strategic imbalance.” However, the U.S. treaty withdrawal eventually allowed it to expand its missile defense systems in Central and Eastern Europe. According to Moscow, Washington’s moves constituted a threat to its national and regional security.
According to the 1972 treaty, neither the Soviet Union nor the U.S. was allowed to build an anti-missile shield to neutralize its the other’s nuclear deterrence.
At the time of the treaty withdrawal, the U.S. indicated it wanted to protect the country from “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. But Russia has suggested the U.S. is building an anti-missile system to use against China and itself.
Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, previously indicated the country plans to complete the installation of the Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense system in Romania. And Phase 2 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach is expected to be finished this year.