There are powerful people in the US who steer the entire country on the path of confrontation with Russia, President Vladimir Putin warned, adding that the Kremlin must take this factor into account.
The warning came as Putin was addressing the senior members of the Russian diplomatic corps in Moscow. He spoke off the script to warn Russian ambassadors of the danger posed by Russia-haters in America.
“We can see forces in the United States, which would easily sacrifice Russian-American relationship for the sake of their ambitions in domestic political struggle in America. They would sacrifice the interests of the US business, which loses contracts and ties in Russia, US jobs, few as they may be, that rely on Russian-American cooperation,” Putin said.
These forces “would sacrifice the interests of their allies in Europe and in the Middle East, including the state of Israel… They would sacrifice their own security.”
He explained the latter point, saying that a lack of work on continuation of the New START nuclear arms limitation treaty between the US and Russia will result in its automatic expiry.
“We were taught that a statesperson should always prioritize core interests of his or her nation above everything else. Not so in this case. We see the forces in the US, who put their narrow group and party interests above those of their nation. Our satirists would describe them as ‘pathetic puny people’. But they are neither. On the contrary, they are quiet powerful, if they can swindle millions of their countrymen to buy stories that would not normally stand to reason,” Putin said.
The president added his warning was not meant to scold anyone, but as an instruction to the diplomatic corps to take the existence and influence of such forces into account during their work.
“Such are the facts of life for us today,” Putin stressed, before going back to his scripted speech.
The apparent improvisation comes days after Putin met US President Donald Trump in Helsinki, after which the American leader came under fire at home as critics accused him of caving in to Putin and selling out US interests. Trump later deflected the criticism, saying that people who hate him would rather see the two nations engaged in a shooting war than see him get along with Putin.