New Delhi: Amidst a growing geopolitical axis between Russia and China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the US and the West of targeting the two countries to stall their economic and technological growth.
In an interview with Russia’s Channel One, Lavrov said that the Ukraine conflict has been used by the US and the West to target his country.
“Russia has indeed been declared an existential, immediate ‘threat’ to be handled in the immediate future,” Lavrov said in the channel’s The Great Game show.
Explaining his rationale, the foreign minister added that the country was progressing economically prior to the war. Russia was “gaining economic strength, not as great as China or India, but still, we remained among the leading economies,” he said.
Thus, to undercut Russia’s economic growth and serve ulterior aims of undermining its position on the world stage where they can criticise the West, Moscow has been targeted relentlessly ever since the Ukraine conflict began, he suggested.
“We have a strong moral and political position on the international stage. We speak out on key issues for developing countries from the standpoint of justice and offer a critique of the system which the West would like to maintain in the post-colonial era based on its striving to live off others,” Lavrov said to Channel One.
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‘China is viewed as next big threat’
Not limiting global geopolitical fault lines to the rivalry between just Moscow and the West, Russia’s foreign minister argued, “The next threat — so far, described as ‘a systemic long-term challenge to the West in the world’—is China.”
Talking about the swathe of economic and technological sanctions being applied against Beijing, Lavrov stated that the steps were to deter China’s economic progress and prevent it from making “breakthroughs.”
“I am sure that the sanctions pressure on China will only increase. It has basically been announced in advance,” he added.
Lavrov’s insinuation that the West is targeting Russia and China comes at an interesting time, as experts suggest a growing alignment between Moscow and Beijing.
In an article in Foreign Affairs, Alexander Gaubev, a senior fellow at the US think tank Carnegie Endowment, stated that the war in Ukraine had made Russia a junior partner of China.
Scholar Swasti Rao also recently argued that growing sanctions would push Russia further into China’s orbit for technology and digital tools.
The recent remarks by Lavrov, and the speculation that Beijing could provide military supplies to Moscow to help it in the war, add credence to the theory that a new Russia-China axis is emerging.
Relations with the US
Further, the Russian foreign minister also said that Washington was making it extremely hard for Russian diplomats to work and live in the US.
Bringing up the recent foreign ministers’ G20 meeting in New Delhi, Lavrov added that he briefly spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Lavrov said that they discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — the mechanism which has existed between Washington and Moscow to reduce the spectre of a nuclear conflict between the two countries by reducing strategic and offensive arms that both countries can deploy.
He, however, criticised the speculation of a rapprochement between the two sides after his meeting with Secretary Blinken.
Describing it as an “absolutely civilised conversation,” he stated, “This once again shows how low we have all fallen in our multilateral diplomacy when a natural meet ‘on the sidelines’—of which there are hundreds—is now seen as an opportunity to speculate on whether or not there is a breakthrough and whether or not there is any hope that a dialogue will be restored.”
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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