Russian FM calls US defence strategy ‘confrontational’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a security council meeting on building regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia at the United Nations in New York, US on January 19, 2018. ( Reuters )

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejects US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ a new national defence strategy that identifies Russia and China as threats.

Russia’s foreign minister on Friday described a new US national defence strategy as “confrontational” after Washington singled out China and Russia as growing threats.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected US suggestions that China and Russia were undermining international efforts to strengthen global security.

“It is regrettable that instead of having a normal dialogue, instead of using the basis of international law, the US is indeed striving to prove their leadership through such confrontational strategies and concepts,” Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations.

He spoke after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis released in Washington the national defence strategy that identifies competition between big powers as a priority rather that fighting terrorism.

President Donald Trump and his administration worry that the US military is feeling the effects of years of budget shortfalls and atrophy, and needs a full reboot.

Lavrov suggested that the strategy reflected the military’s campaign for “additional financial resources.”

He added that Russia was “open for dialogue” to discuss military doctrines and noted that many in the US military brass understand the need for “strategic stability” that involves Russia working alongside the United States.

Mattis said Russia and China are seeking to “create a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”

Lavrov recalled that Moscow was a founding member of the United Nations as the then-Soviet Union, contributing decades ago to a rules-based international system.