MOSCOW, Oct. 9 (UPI) — Tensions continue to rise between the United States and Russia as the Russian foreign minister said Sunday recent actions and statements threaten his country’s national security.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a television interview Sunday the United States and NATO were taking aggressive steps rooted in “Russophobia” and that recent remarks by leaders pose a threat to Russia’s national security.
The relationship between leaders in Russia and the United States has gotten rockier in the last several weeks as the two countries have publicly disagreed over how to intervene in the civil war in Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ratcheted up the criticism on Oct. 7 calling for war crimes investigations over Russia’s “terrorizing” citizens in Syria as it battles the Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
“We have witnessed a fundamental change of circumstances when it comes to the aggressive Russophobia that now lies at the heart of U.S. policy towards Russia,” Lavrov said in the interview. “It’s not just a rhetorical Russophobia, but aggressive steps that really hurt our national interests and pose a threat to our security.”
In addition to concerns that have been raised by American and other officials about Russia’s campaign against the Islamic State — which has been aimed at keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, while the United States has focused its efforts on opposing both ISIS and Assad — Russia has made moves to solidify its standing against what it sees as threats from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.