US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work believes that the USA and its allies need to be prepared to respond militarily to Russia's and China's actions.
During his speech at the American Council for Foreign Relations, Work said that in relations with Russia and China, the US should actively use diplomatic means, but one should also bear in mind the possibility of a military response to any action "taken against our allies." He stressed out that Washington should find ways that would let Moscow and Beijing remain calm.
"Russia and China clearly are staking out their position in their near abroad. This is one of the things we're going to have to work out over the course of the next several years, on what they consider to be areas of their vital interest," the official said.
Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama ruled out a possibility of military confrontation between NATO and Russia. He said that he saw opportunities for a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and welcomed the preparation of an agreement on the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23