09:57 GMT +323 January 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony of documents following their talks in Beijing

    US Should Engage Russia to Prevent Alliance With China, Ex-Official Says

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    The United States should continue to engage Russia to prevent Moscow’s coming closer to and establishing an alliance with China, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said on Monday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US-Russian relations will continue to deteriorate, if Washington continues to neglect Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Mullen said.

    "If we completely neglect him [Russian President Vladimir Putin] and our relationship just continues to go south… he will become much more closely aligned with China," Mullen stated at the Washington Ideas Roundtable organized by the Aspen Institute.

    Mullen argued a Russian-Chinese alliance would be much more challenging geo-strategically for the United States and the rest of the world.

    "To have them [Russia] engaged is better than to not have them engaged," Mullen concluded.

    Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated in 2014 after the overwhelming majority of the Crimean population voted in a referendum to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. The move prompted the United States, European Union and their allies to impose sanctions on both Russia and the breakaway republic.


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