Monday 22 June 2015 - 12:56

Pentagon chief says Russia going backward under Putin

Story Code : 468306
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
"The United States at least continues to hold out the prospect that Russia, maybe not under Vladimir Putin, but maybe sometime in the future, will return to a forward-moving course, rather than a backward-looking course," Carter said while speaking to reporters at the start of a week-long trip to Europe.
“Russia might not change under Vladimir Putin or even thereafter,” said the Pentagon chief on Sunday.
Carter termed Putin a “malign influence” in eastern Europe and described the president’s vow to expand Moscow’s cache of nuclear missiles as “loose rhetoric.”
Last week, Putin declared that Moscow would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, able to overcome even the most advanced anti-missile systems, to the make-up of the Russian nuclear arsenal this year.
The declaration came in response to Washington’s announcement that it is ready to store heavy military equipment in eastern European countries to counter “Russian aggression” in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine.
“There is no need for Vladimir Putin to make that point," said Carter. "I obviously can't explain to you why he would posture in that way but it's not appropriate behavior in my judgment."
He claimed that despite the ongoing tensions, the US will “keep the door open” for Russia to choose better relations.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have been strained over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The rhetoric and actions from both sides have intensified in recent days amid the worst tensions since the Cold War, which both sides blame on each other.
The US accuses Russia of destabilizing Ukraine by supporting pro-Russian forces in the eastern regions. The Kremlin, however, denies the allegations.