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23 Jan, 2024 16:01

Trump won’t change anything – Lavrov

US-Russia relations have deteriorated beyond the point of repair, even if the Republican frontrunner reaches the White House, the top diplomat has said
Trump won’t change anything – Lavrov

Ties between Moscow and Washington are unlikely to improve, even if Donald Trump wins the upcoming 2024 US presidential election, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told CBS in an interview that aired on Tuesday. The former US president had previously repeatedly boasted about his good relations with Vladimir Putin.

America’s general approach towards Russia has not changed over the past decades, Lavrov said, adding that Washington itself had ruined its relations with Moscow by dismantling all the “confidence-building” mechanisms and eroding mutual trust.

The minister pointed in particular to the decision by former US President George W. Bush to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) in 2002. The key arms control agreement signed by the US and the USSR in 1972 limited the number of ballistic missile defense systems each side could have and was designed to de-pressurize the arms race between the two Cold War rivals.

Washington has since shattered the “foundations” of bilateral relations with Russia by terminating “all agreements on strategic stability, parity, mutual trust, inspections and transparency,” Lavrov said. Trump himself was instrumental in dismantling one of the few remaining arms control treaties – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Agreement, which banned the two nations from having any ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

The US first unilaterally suspended the INF Treaty in February 2019, during Trump’s presidency, and then withdrew from it in August of the same year. Russia suspended the agreement in February in response to the initial American move.

According to Lavrov, Washington is still too obsessed with its own perceived “superiority” and “impunity” to change its approach to relations with Moscow. The US leaders had “ignored [the] huge amount of goodwill shown by Putin during his first two terms,” the Russian minister said, adding that American politicians apparently sought to keep the Russian president “in their pocket.” 

They had “miscalculated everything,” Moscow’s top diplomat said, adding that the current generation of US politicians had not learned a “single lesson” from the mistakes of their predecessors.

In recent months, Trump has on several occasions vowed to put an end to the conflicts both between Moscow and Kiev and Israel and Hamas. He particularly claimed that he would be able to quickly convince both Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to sit down at the negotiating table since he allegedly knew both leaders “well.” 
Moscow denied it had held any talks with the former US president and the current GOP frontrunner on reaching peace with Kiev. “There have been no contacts on this issue,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.