JURMALA, November 2. /TASS/. The bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington are considerably complicated by the domestic political situation in the US, participants in the “Baltic Forum” international conference said on Friday.

“Looking at this from Moscow, I can say that elites and the society in the US are so polarized that some observers describe it as a ‘cold civil war’,” director of the Institute of International Economy and World Politics at the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Dynkin said. “In this ‘cold civil war’, anti-Russian paranoia unfortunately becomes a universal weapon for both sides,” he added.

The second factor that makes it harder to improve relations with the US is the policy of the American leadership, he continued. “This policy assumes that everybody else is second-class. Maybe this is acceptable for, say, Germany, but for Russia it is absolutely unacceptable because the value of Russia’s sovereignty is as high as that of US sovereignty,” the expert noted.

The third reason lies in the “obvious attempts” of current US leadership to destroy the system of strategic treaties. “We all know very well that the New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) expires on 5 February 2021. Two weeks before that, there will an inauguration in Washington, so we barely have any time left for negotiations,” he added.

Dynkin said that Moscow considers the events in Georgia and Ukraine as an attempt at NATO enlargement. “This wave has been stopped now, of course. The cost was high, but this is the reality,” he concluded.

Bilateral issues

Chairman of the board of the Institute of Modern Development Igor Jurgens listed several issues in Russian-US relations that require soonest resolution. One such issue is the situation in eastern Ukraine, he said adding that the Minsk format needs to be updated. “This update is impossible before elections in Ukraine. That’s why our number one problem in relations with NATO and EU is postponed by at least a year, even from the point of view of a technical solution,” Jurgens said.

The second problem is the Syrian issue, which is now less acute, but may become more salient at any point. “After the deterioration of the situation when a Russian plane was downed, when S-300 [missile defense systems] were delivered there [to Syria], when Israeli Air Force conducts training flights in Greece and Turkey where they collect information on how to bypass these systems and where these systems are positioned – all of this can lead to something bad. At the same time, the Russian side was always pleasantly surprised and welcomed the fact that our relations with Israel are currently at its historical best,” he said.

Another problem in bilateral relations is closing all formats of negotiations and control over nuclear weapons. “We received a bad news that the US is launching a process of withdrawing from the Intermediat-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which makes the New START pointless. At the same time, Poland asked the US to set up a base on their territory with weapons that are not allowed under the Russia-NATO Founding Act. In 2021, we will no longer have the formats which we used for decades to avoid difficult conflicts,” Jurgens concluded.

Interrupted communications

In the modern world where the established security architecture has almost collapsed, the relationship of trust between Moscow and Washington is necessary, former director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Vyacheslav Trubnikov said.

“The security architecture from the times of the Cold War has almost collapsed. We need at least minimum trust. If INF Treaty is cancelled, there will be no more trust,” Trubnikov said.

He reminded how effectively Russia and the US cooperated at the beginning of the 21 century. After 9/11 terrorist attacks, the bilateral joint working group gathered in Moscow to discuss the upcoming US operation in Afghanistan. Washington then asked Moscow to provide detailed information about the experience of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. “This was a complicated issue, and even then it was resolved in a positive manner,” he said.

Russia then agreed to allow transit of cargoes, including heavy weaponry, to Afghanistan. “Cooperation was serious then, without deceit and without double standards,” Trubnikov noted. 0sap.

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