Russia’s top diplomat in the U.S. said in a briefing with reporters Monday that relations between Washington and Moscow are in “a deplorably difficult state” and have fallen in recent years to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
“The dialogue we used to have has slowed down significantly,” Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador in Washington said, during a rare roundtable discussion with reporters on Monday.
“We were able to end the Cold War, but most probably we weren’t able to build post-Cold War peace,” he said. “We’ve failed to create a real tissue of our relations and that makes these relations very, very vulnerable.”
But in wide-ranging comments, the Russian ambassador rejected the idea that a new kind of Cold War is in the offing. “We ought to work together and we are perfectly open to doing so,” he said.
At the same time, he accused the Obama administration and the U.S. military of mischaracterizing Russia as an aggressor and adversary that needs to be isolated on the world stage.
He said relations began breaking down well before Washington and Moscow took opposing sides over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and pointed to NATO’s years-long expansion in Eastern Europe and Washington’s support for it as the top catalyst for friction between the two nations.
“We see the expansion of military infrastructure of NATO moving closer to our borders,” he said.