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Moscow presumes that US under Biden to regard Russia as an adversary, says ambassador

He stressed that Russian-US relations were not personified

WASHINGTON, December 21. /TASS/. Russia presumes that the United States will apparently go ahead with its policy of containment under the incoming president, Joseph Biden, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told TASS in an interview.

Asked what expectations he had on the eve of another administration taking office in Washington and if he cherished any hopes for the beginning of normalization of bilateral relations or preferred to brace for their further worsening, Antonov said: "Russian-US relations in recent years have been in the state of a deep crisis."

"We have no delusion everything will change for the better overnight when the new president takes over. The chances of this are slim," Antonov said.

"We proceed from Washington’s fundamental policy on the Russian track," he explained. "Our country was proclaimed an adversary. This definition is contained in the fundamental US policy documents. The local establishment shows unanimity on this score. A wide range of economic, military, political and propagandistic instruments is used for Moscow’s systematic containment."

He stressed that Russian-US relations were not personified.

"The Democrats and the Republicans may disagree over tactics, but not strategy. The gist of the latter is not attempts to seek a compromise with Russia, but pressure on us that would make us agree with everything that Washington may demand."

No expectations of a quick return

In the meantime, Antonov said, "it is Russian-US cooperation that is capable of playing the key role in solving many global problems."

"This is so even though bilateral interaction was shrinking lately," he said.

"There is a tremendous amount of work to be handled in bilateral relations. One cannot expect a quick return. It will make sense to make progress calmly on small projects that would yield positive results, and then to get closer to tackling more ambitious tasks," Antonov said.

Use of force does not work

The Russian ambassador shared his opinion of the likely effects of more attempts by the United States to act on the Russian track from the position of strength and of the further general degradation of bilateral ties for the whole system of international relations and the world architecture of security.

"In principle attempts to act from the position of strength in bilateral relations never yield anything good either in people-to-people contacts or in interstate relations. What is the gist of such an attitude? To put it in a nutshell, it is an attempt to dictate one’s will and one’s interests regardless of the opinion of the other side. Clearly, such an approach just does not work, when it comes to relations between two major nuclear powers, such as Russia and the United States," Antonov warned.

He believes that Washington’s choice in favor of the "peace through strength" and "great power rivalry" concepts harms not only bilateral relations, but international security in general.

"In its drive for military-political supremacy the United States systematically gets rid of international treaties and legal restrictions that the regimes of arms control and confidence-building and transparency rest upon," he added.

Readiness for contacts

About the possibility Moscow might invite future US administration officials, including Biden, to pay visits to Russia, Antonov said: "First and foremost it is necessary to wait for the inauguration of the new president and the formation of the new cabinet of ministers."

"We will keep a close watch on the internal political situation in the United States. Plans for likely meetings with Russian officials will be formed as government appointments are made. As far as Joseph Biden is concerned, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message of congratulations to the president-elect on December 15 he was prepared for interaction and contacts with the new US leader. It is to be hoped that Russian-US relations will not be sacrificed to current internal politics in the United States and that our countries will be able to resolve the accrued problems on a pragmatic and equitable basis," Antonov stressed.

He remarked that the embassy knew nothing of any preparations for any visits by Russian officials to the US while the Trump administration was still in office.

"The serious epidemiological situation in the country and the New Year holidays create extra hindrances. Besides, federal agencies in the United States are busy with handover procedures, which will continue up to the inauguration ceremony on January 20, 2021. Apparently, everybody will have to stay patient and wait for the new authorities get down to work," Antonov said.