- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has reacted angrily to comments of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis who on Wednesday spoke of the need to negotiate with Russia “from a position of strength.

The statement came just hours before Gen. Joe Dunford and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the U.S. and Russian Chiefs of Staff, were to hold talks in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, the first meeting between the two countries’ senior members of the military since Donald Trump was elected president last year.

Shoigu on Thursday lambasted Mattis for his remarks, saying that “attempts to build a dialogue with Russia from a position of strength are futile.” Shoigu said Moscow would seek Dunford’s explanation at the meeting in Baku later on Thursday.

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