17:34 GMT +319 January 2020
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    Any serious improvement in relations between Russia and the United States is unlikely after US Vice President Mike Pence named Russia as one of the main security concerns for NATO, Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During his address at the Atlantic Council Distinguished Leadership Awards 2017 on Monday, Pence listed Russia and Iran, as well as the threat of global terrorism, as the primary security issues for the alliance, while also reiterating the commitment of the United States to its allies.

    "Now we see we should not wait for a quality improvement of relations with the United States compared to the administration of [former US President Barack] Obama," Slutsky said.

    There have been many anti-Russian statements made by the United States that endanger development of fruitful bilateral relations, but the latest remarks of the Vice President sums up the United States' position clearly, Slutsky added.

    Deputy Chair of State Duma's International Affairs Committee Alexei Chepa told Sputnik in turn that such a statement was not unexpected, but added that it is too early to draw conclusions, as US President Donald Trump’s administration's policy was not yet fully formed, clear or consistent.

    Chepa added that instead of the world focusing on the fight against terrorism and uniting its efforts to tackle this comment threat as was needed, "some short-sighted politicians make such statements."

    NATO has been building up its military presence in Eastern Europe, citing Russia's alleged meddling in the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 and the referendum in Crimea. Following the July 2016 summit, the alliance announced deployment of four multinational battalions to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the claims of being involved in the Ukrainian crisis, stating that NATO’s military build-up near the Russian borders is provocative and could lead to regional and global destabilization.


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    NATO, Mike Pence, Alexei Chepa, Leonid Slutsky, Russia, United States
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