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American elites inflaming tensions between Moscow, Washington, says Russian defense chief

The Russian defense minister says American elites are whipping up tensions between Russia and the US

MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. American elites are whipping up tensions between Russia and the US, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with the Italian daily Il Giornale published on Wednesday.

The defense chief noted that the US asserts that Russia’s "aggressive" actions on the global arena are the reason for the crisis in bilateral ties.

"However, we are certain that the tensions in our bilateral relations have been whipped up by those American elites, which are convinced that the world is divided into the ‘American one’ and ‘the wrong one," Shoigu explained.

He recalled that the US unilaterally broke two key global security agreements. Specifically, Washington withdrew from the ABM Treaty, and, contrary to its promises to the USSR, it initiated NATO’s expansion eastward.

"As the president of the Russian Geographical Society, I have long wanted to give our US counterparts a globe as a gift, so that they could look at it and explain to us why those that they labeled as ‘America’s adversaries’ are in the Middle and Far East, while all of their military bases and groupings are moving closer to Russia’s borders. Does that mean we are supposed to protect them?" he remarked.

Global security dialogue

Shoigu has said that he had invited the Pentagon chief repeatedly to hash over regional and security issues, but Washington is still not ready for such discussions. The only working communication channel is between the two countries’ military officials, Shoigu said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Giornale published on Wednesday.

"I have invited the Pentagon head to discuss current problematic global and regional security issues, including the war on terror, more than once. However, the Americans are not yet ready for such a dialogue. I am sure though that both the peoples of Russia and the US and the rest of the world are interested in that," the defense chief said.

"Currently, the only working communication channel that exists is between our General Staffs, which is used for negotiations, even at the chiefs of staff level. They are aimed, first and foremost, at ensuring that Russian and US military activities do not lead to a military conflict between our nuclear powers," the minister noted.

Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford hold telephone conversations and meetings on a regular basis. Their last personal meeting took place in Vantaa near Helsinki on June 8, and the two generals talked over the phone on June 14.