Pentagon officials said that the US-NATO-Russian relations were most likely to remain intense even after Vladimir Putin leaves office.
Pentagon chief Ashton Carter said in Berlin that the cooling of relations between Moscow, Washington and Brussels could last longer than Putin's presidency. According to Carter, Russia may not change its current political course either during or after his presidency. In this connection, the US official said, both the United States and NATO would be preparing for a long period of tensions.
Carter criticized Putin's recent statements about Moscow's intention to target Russian strike forces on the territories that pose a threat to Russia's security. According to Carter, such behavior is inappropriate.
Earlier, Carter said that economic sanctions against Russia would not affect Moscow's stance on Ukraine. Therefore, Carter added, Washington's response to the Ukrainian crisis should be both political and military.
According to Welt am Sonntag, next week, NATO defense ministers will gather for a meeting to discuss Russia's nuclear strategy and analyze how Putin could use nuclear weapons in a confrontation with the West.
Noteworthy, it was US defense officials, who said that they were ready to deploy heavy weapons on the territory of European countries and the Baltic states to counter "Russia' aggression."
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Russia has deployed two armies and three units of Airborne Forces to its western borders as part of a verification check, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said