Russia stated on Monday that it would send “uncomfortable” signals to the United States ahead of a summit between the two nations’ leaders next month and that it would militarise its western border. The remarks come a day after US President Joe Biden stated that when the two leaders meet in Geneva on June 16, he will press Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, was quoted saying to the RIA news agency that, “The Americans must assume that a number of signals from Moscow … will be uncomfortable for them, including in the coming days.”
Relations between the two countries are at an all-time low since the end of the Cold War, and the meeting next month will be the first between the two presidents since Biden took office in January. According to RIA, Ryabkov said Russia would be willing to respond to Biden’s questions regarding human rights in Russia and that Moscow was more flexible than Washington when it comes to putting up a summit agenda.
Ryabkov’s comments come after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the US and NATO, of which the former is a prominent member, of recently increasing military activities to the west of Russia. Shoigu said the steps necessitated a response from Moscow, adding that by the end of the year, Russia would send roughly 20 military formations and units to its “Western Military District.”
“The actions of our Western colleagues are destroying the world’s security system and force us to take adequate countermeasures,” the Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.
Russia’s relations with the United States and its Western allies are strained over a number of topics, including the imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, Ukraine, the Arctic, and election hacking charges.
Last week, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned against expecting a “reset” after the Geneva conference, stating that the disagreements between Moscow and Washington are too profound. The White House has likewise played down expectations for the meeting, stating that no substantial breakthroughs are expected.
President Joe Biden and his Democrat administration have increased the pressure on Russia which has led to increased diplomatic conflicts. Biden has tried to insinuate conflicts with Russia over Ukraine, Belarus and had even called the Russian President a “killer” on national television. The upcoming summit will be the first meeting between the two Presidents and Russia has already sent ominous signs, that it will not let things be easy for the US President.