MUNICH, Germany, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claims the West — specifically the United States — is to blame for a new Cold War.
While speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Medvedev assertedthe relationship between NATO countries and Russia “remains unfriendly and closed.”
“One could go as far to say we have slid back to a new Cold War,” he said. “Sometimes I wonder if it is the year 2016 or 1962.”
Medvedev said sanctions against Russia in response to the country’s annexation of Crimea in Ukraine and support of the Syrian government amid its civil war have put Russia at odds with NATO.
Emphasizing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sentiments at the same conference in 2007, Medvedev said “the picture is more grim; the developments since 2007 have been worse than anticipated.”
Medvedev’s speech came after NATO Security General Jens Stoltenberg stood in front of the attendees in support of recent military moves by the organization.
“Russia’s rhetoric, posture and exercises of its nuclear forces are aimed at intimidating its neighbors, undermining trust and stability in Europe,” he said. “We strive for a more constructive and more cooperative relationship with Russia.”
In attendance at the conference were government representatives who included Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Kerry used his speech to encourage European unity at a time of tension, saying the U.S. has “a profound interest” in the region’s unified strength as it communicates with Russia.
“It is clear today that while the Cold War is long over, the need for courage and resolve in defending liberty and pursuing peace is just as vital as it was a half century ago,” Kerry said.
He said sanctions against Russia would be eliminated if the country withdrew weapons and troops from Ukraine.