US labelled threat in Russian security update

An American Flag hangs from a building along Eighth Avenue at 35th street on Nov 11, 2015 in New York, US.
An American Flag hangs from a building along Eighth Avenue at 35th street on Nov 11, 2015 in New York, US.PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW • The United States has been named one of the threats to Russia's national security for the first time in an official document, a sign of how relations with the West have deteriorated in recent years.

The appraisal, About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation, was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year's Eve.

It replaces a 2009 version, endorsed by then President Dmitry Medvedev, the current prime minister, which mentioned neither the United States not the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

The document - which serves as a basis for planning strategy related to national security by different state bodies - said Russia has managed to heighten its role in solving global problems and international conflicts. That heightened role has caused a reaction by the West.

"The strengthening of Russia happens against the background of new threats to... national security, which (are) complex and interrelated (in) nature," the document said.

Conducting an independent policy, "both international and domestic" has caused "counteraction from the USA and its allies, which are striving to retain their dominance in global affairs".

That, in turn, is likely to lead to "political, economical, military and informational pressure" on Russia, the document said.

Relations between Russia and the West reached a low after Russian forces annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, after protests in Ukraine forced its pro-Moscow president to flee to Russia.

Since then, the West has accused Russia of aiding insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies actively assisting the rebels.

The US and the European Union have since imposed wide-ranging sanctions against Russian individuals and companies. Moscow has reacted by restricting food and other goods from the EU.

The document said the US and EU have supported an "anti-constitutional coup d'etat in Ukraine", which led to a deep divide in Ukrainian society and a military conflict.

It also named the expansion of Nato as a threat to Russia's national security and said that the US has expanded its network of military-biological laboratories in Russia's neighbouring countries. The document did not mention Syria.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 03, 2016, with the headline 'US labelled threat in Russian security update'. Print Edition | Subscribe