Russia says the United States does not consider Moscow acting like a “normal” country because, unlike America, the Russian government does not bomb other countries or support coups in foreign lands.
Earlier this week, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper had said during an official visit to France that it would be “great” if the West “could get Russia to behave like a more normal country.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hit back on Monday.
“If he (Esper) said so, he called upon us to act as a normal country and not like the United States,” Lavrov said. “Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law. We should have supported coups, violent and anti-constitutional, like the US and its closest allies did in February 2014 [in Ukraine].”
He said if Russia had acted like a “normal” country as America saw it, “we would have spent millions on intervening in the affairs of other countries as Congress has done by authorizing 20 million dollars for supporting democracy in Russia.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said separately that normalcy had a different meaning for Moscow.
“We will probably remain abnormal,” he quipped.
Last week, Esper warned European countries to tackle what he described as growing security and economic threats from China and Russia.
In provocative remarks, Esper said Russia and China “want to disrupt the international order.”
The remarks by Lavrov and Shoigu came as their French counterparts were visiting Moscow.
RT reported on Monday that the visiting French ministers sought to reduce tensions with Russia, quoting France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian as saying, “The time has come, the time is right, to work towards reducing distrust.”
French Defense Minister Florence Parly also said, “It is important to talk to each other, to avoid misunderstanding and friction.”
The high-level meeting came just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, at the resort city of Bregancon.
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