Russian premier: ‘We have slid into … a new Cold War’ – Los Angeles Times

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev raised the specter of a new Cold War on Saturday and compared the current tensions between Russia and the West to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

NATO‘s political stance toward Russia remains unfriendly and isolated,” he said in televised remarks at an international security conference in Munich, Germany. “One can say even more harshly, we have slid into the times of a new Cold War.”

Relations between Russia and the West have been in a downward spiral since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and support of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, which prompted a series of crippling economic sanctions against Russia. The relationship between Moscow and the West has become further strained by Russia’s continuing support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, including a bombing campaign against Western-supported rebel groups.

Medvedev served as Russian president in 2008-12 while his mentor, Vladimir Putin, was prime minister, and his remarks in Munich presumably had Putin’s stamp of approval. His reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis was oblique but unmistakable.

“I sometimes wonder: Are we in 2016 or in 1962?” he said, addressing Western leaders, security officials and diplomats at the conference.

In his own remarks to the conference, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that “the Cold War is long over,” although he said there was still a need “for the courage and the resolve in defending liberty and in pursuing peace.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was somewhat tougher in his remarks. “We have seen a more assertive Russia, a Russia which is destabliizing the European security order,” he said. “NATO does not seek confrontation and we don’t want a new Cold War. At the same time, our response has to be firm.”

While he called for dialogue with Russia, Stoltenberg added that NATO “is undertaking the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense in decades, to send a powerful signal to deter any aggression or intimidation. … We are in a new reality with Russia.”


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