Top Russian defence officials have lashed out at the United States, accusing it of undermining global security by funding revolutions and expanding NATO in a bid to contain Russia.
Speaking at a conference in Moscow on Thursday, attended by his counterparts from North Korea, Greece and Pakistan, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the world order needs to be redefined in a speech that focused heavily on the perceived threat from the United States.
“We live in a watershed moment of history. We are the ones to determine the parameters of world order,” Shoigu told the annual Conference on International Security.
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“We are concerned that the stability constructed after World War II is beginning to careen,” he said. “Some countries who consider themselves winners in the Cold War are attempting to dictate their will to others.”
Frequently using the term “some countries” to refer to the United States and its closest allies, Shoigu accused Washington of destabilising the post-Soviet sphere by luring countries away from Russia with investment and supporting popular uprisings.
“The main goal is to tear away from Russia the countries tied to it by culture and history,” he said.
“Of course, the biggest tragedy among the ‘colour revolutions’ is Ukraine,” Shoigu said, contrasting the “peaceful” transition of Crimea to Russia with “violent propagation of the European choice” by Kiev’s current leadership.
Russia deployed its special forces in February to Crimea, formally annexing it from Ukraine in March, shortly after the uprising in the Ukrainian capital led to the ouster of pro-Moscow former president Viktor Yanukovych.
The chain of events unravelled into a year-long conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev, which has claimed over 6,000 lives. Moscow has denied Western claims the Kremlin is supporting the insurgency.
“NATO countries are seeking to seize geopolitical space, building up military potential in Eastern Europe and drawing closer to Russia,” Shoigu said.
The sharp remarks were a contrast to President Vladimir Putin’s statements that Russia’s only enemies are terrorism and organised crime.
“We don’t consider anyone an enemy among participants of global dialogue,” he said on Thursday in his annual phone-in session with the nation.