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Chief of Russian Federal Security Service says his visit to US political signal

February 20, 2015, 8:34 UTC+3
According to Alexander Bortnikov, professional cooperation of special services should continue even now, when the Russian-American relations are at a new low
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Alexander Bortnikov

Alexander Bortnikov

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

WASHINGTON, February 20. /TASS/. Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Alexander Bortnikov said his working visit to the United States is not only a professional but also a political signal.

"Both," he told a TASS correspondent at a meeting with Russian journalists in Washington. "Political problems can’t be solved" without the capabilities "my colleagues and I have," he said.

The FSB director said professional cooperation of special services should continue even now, when the Russian-American relations are at a new low. He said American counterparts have a similar mindset.

"We are interested not only in information exchanges, but also in joint work," Bortnikov told journalists.

Recalling security provision at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia’s southern Black Sea resort of Sochi, he said cooperation with a number of states - from Austria and Germany to France - helped prevent "a number of terrorist manifestations."

Chill in Russia-US relations

Russian-US relations are complicated now over Ukrainian developments.

Russian officials and companies came under the first batch of Western sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, after Russia incorporated Crimea in mid-March 2014 after the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.

Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

The West announced new, sectoral, restrictions against Russia in late July 2014, in particular, for what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests in Ukraine’s southeast.

In response, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.

New punitive measures against Russia were imposed in September 2014.

Russia has constantly dismissed accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as allegations that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine.

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