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Moscow expresses surprise at U.S. Senator Lugar's statements

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Speaking at an energy security summit at Purdue University on Wednesday, Lugar branded Russia, along with Iran and Venezuela, "adversarial regimes" that use their energy resources as political weapons.
MOSCOW, August 31 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is surprised by the harshly critical statements made by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar about Russia earlier in the week, as it considers Lugar to be a friend, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Speaking at an energy security summit at Purdue University on Wednesday, Lugar branded Russia, along with Iran and Venezuela, "adversarial regimes" that use their energy resources as political weapons.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said, "In our view, the fact that Senator Richard Lugar allowed himself to resort to such sharp statements is regrettable."

Seventy-four year-old Republican Senator Lugar said in his speech: "adversarial regimes from Venezuela, to Iran, to Russia are using energy supplies as leverage against their neighbors. We are used to thinking in terms of conventional warfare between nations, but energy is becoming a weapon of choice for those who possess it. Nations experiencing a cutoff of energy supplies, or even the threat of a cutoff, may become desperate, increasing the chances of armed conflict, terrorism, and economic collapse."

Kamynin said: "We know Richard Lugar as Russia's friend, who made a weighty contribution to the development of Russian-U.S. cooperation, including reducing the nuclear threat."

The spokesman also said Moscow believed that after discussions on energy security at the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg in July, Russia's policy had been explained to its Western partners, and needed no further justification.

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