Russia names US and Nato as national security threats for the first time

The new security document replaces a 2009 version, which did not mention the US at all

Doug Bolton
Monday 04 January 2016 01:07
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Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama shake hands at the 2013 G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia
Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama shake hands at the 2013 G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia

A new defence appraisal has named the USA as one of the threats to Russia's national security for the first time, signifying how much relations between Russia and the west have deteriorated in recent years.

In the document, entitled 'About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation', it names the US and Nato as new threats to Russian security, due to the alliance trying to "retain [its] dominance in global affairs."

According to Reuters, this is the first time that the US has explicitly been named as a threat - the new document replaces a previous one from 2009, endorsed by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, which made no mention of either America or Nato.

The document was reportedly signed by President Vladimir Putin on 31 December 2015, making it official policy.

The document says that in recent years, Russia has managed to increase its role in solving global issues and conflicts, which has caused a reaction from the west.

"The strengthening of Russia happens against the background of new threats to the national security, which has complex and interrelated nature," it says.

Continuing policies that would heighten Russia's global standing will likely lead to "political, economical, military and informational pressure" on Russia, it adds.

Relations between Russia and the west have worsened in the last decade, but they took a big hit in March 2014 when Russian forces annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, after protests and unrest in the country forced its pro-Kremlin president to flee.

The west has since accused Russia of helping insurgents in eastern Ukraine, and a number of sanctions against prominent Russians and companies have been put in place.

Through opposing Russia's presence in Ukraine, Russia says the US and EU have supported an "anti-constitutional coup d'etat", which has led to the conflict in the country.

Significantly, the document does not mention Syria, where Russia recently began airstrikes against Isis forces and anti-Assad rebels.

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