Russia undermining sovereignty of neighbouring countries: US

WASHINGTON, Oct 15:  US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has lashed out at Russia alleging that the country is using political, economic, and military tools to “undermine” the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries.
Carter said this yesterday at a luncheon hosted by the Association of the US Army Sustaining Member.
“Russia has used political, economic, and military tools to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries, flouted international legal norms, and destabilised the European security order by attempting to annex Crimea and continuing to fuel further violence in eastern Ukraine,” Carter claimed.
He said the Pentagon will take all the necessary steps to deter Russia’s “malign” and “destabilising” influence, coercion and aggression.
“This is the new reality for us strategically, but it looks like it’s here to stay,” he said.
“We will continue to make it clear that if Russia wants to end its international isolation and be considered a responsible power, it has to stop its aggression in eastern Ukraine; end the annexation — it’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea; and live up to its commitments under the Minsk agreement,” the Defense Secretary said.
On top of their behaviour in Ukraine, Russia’s behaviour in Syria is concerning and cross-wise to a sensible course of action, he said.
Instead of engaging in a political transition in Syria which is needed in that long-suffering country, Russia has chosen to “double-down” on their long-standing relationship with Assad, committing additional military hardware capabilities and personnel, he alleged.
Now, the Russians originally said they were going to fight ISIL, al-Nusra and other terrorist organisations. However, within days of deploying their forces, the Russians began striking targets that are not any of these groups, the top Pentagon leader said.
“This is a fundamental strategic mistake — one that will inflame and prolong the Syrian civil war, fuelling the very radicalism that Russia says it fears, and I think it has reason to fear.
“We have not, for our part, and will not agree to cooperate with Russia as long as they continue to pursue a misguided strategy,” he said. (PTI)