WASHINGTON, April 24. /TASS/. The US understands the value of relations with Russia but sees it as its strategic competitor at the current stage, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told a Defense Writers Group breakfast on Tuesday answering a question from a TASS correspondent.
"Russia continues to be a strategic competitor. And its efforts undermine the West," he noted. In spite of that, he assured that Washington appreciates relations with Moscow.
"Relationships are important. We all understand their value. [But] we are in a strategic competition, and I'll just leave it at that," he said.
Shanahan declined to clarify whether US Secretary of Defense James Mattis plans to go over to interaction with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu or whether Washington plans to limit itself to dialogue between the two countries’ military officials. Regular talks over the phone have recently been held by Chief of Russia’s General Staff General of the Army Valery Gerasimov and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. "I won’t speak for Secretary Mattis here," he stressed.