Russia-US relations: Formatting dialogue for strategic stability

Friday, 2021-07-09 09:03:30
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US President Joe Biden met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021. (Photo: AP)
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NDO – Although the leaders of Russia and the US have pledged to reduce tensions and strengthen dialogue towards the common goal of strategic stability, the relationship between the two nuclear powers has still witnessed flexibility, showing it is easier said than done in terms of their approach to issues where there are stillmany differences. Both keep a “defensive position” in order to compete strategically as well as to ensure their national interests.

In order to fulfill the commitments made at a summitbetween Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland in mid-June, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has recently said that Russia hopes to hold the opening round of nuclear strategic stability talks with the US this month and hopes this negotiation process will become a format for dialogue between the two countries.

Although the leaders of Russia and the US have expressed their wish for mutual understanding, there remains many differences between the two sides. The Russian side has affirmed Moscow’s tough stance on several issues, including Ukraine. Russia emphasised that Washington’s participation in the settlement of the conflict in Donbass in eastern Ukraine is not out of the question, but it depends on which official is appointed as US coordinator on this issue.

Russia’s tough statements came in the context of the situation in the Black Sea continuing to increase the tensions between Russia and NATO. The two sides have conducted two large-scale military exercises in parallel. Exercise Sea Breeze 2021, conducted by NATO and Ukraine with its partners in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine with the participation of more than 30 countries, is the largest such exercise ever held. Russia called it “a provocative muscle-flexing game” and said that NATO is deliberately fanning the flames of the situation along its border with Russia, increasing the risk of an armed conflict. Moscow said it would react appropriately to the situation to ensure Russia’s military security if necessary.

Restoring a normal state of relations between Russia and the US is not an easy matter as the two sides still have many contradictions related to a series of issues such as cyber attacks and diplomatic retaliation, but dialogue and cooperation between them for strategic stability is essential for the security of both the region and the world.