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    Shoigu on Relations With Pentagon: 'Position of Strength' Is Futile

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    Russia is ready to reestablish cooperation with the US Department of Defense but dialogue from a "position of strength" is pointless, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday.

    In this file photo dated Aug. 29, 2014, NATO naval mine countermeasure vessels berth in Turku, Finland, during the international Northern Coasts 2014 (NOCO14) military exercise
    © AP Photo / RONI LEHTI / Lehtikuva via AP, FILE
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that US President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had told NATO that they fully supported the dual-track approach, which was about defense and dialogue.

    "We are ready to restore cooperation with the Pentagon. But attempts to build dialogue from a position of strength with regard to Russia is futile," Shoigu said.

    US Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke at the NATO defense ministerial meeting Wednesday of the need to engage with Russia "from a position of strength."

    "We are waiting for clarification of the Pentagon's position at today's meeting in Baku between Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov, and his US counterpart Joseph Dunford," Shoigu said.

    Since 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union and the United States, deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia on the pretext of its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia has imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.

    Since then, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext.

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    NATO, US Department of Defense (DoD), Pentagon, Sergei Shoigu, Russia
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