NEWSWATCH TASS Interview: Victoria Nuland: We do want to be able to communicate clearly with Russia

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

In an interview with TASS, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland reportedly focused upon U.S.-Russia relations, Ukraine, Iran’s nuclear program and visa problems for Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko.

I would argue that since the breakup of the Warsaw pact, since the breakup of the Soviet Union the entire orientation of US policy, of Transatlantic policy and by that I mean the US, its NATO allies, its EU partners, has been to try to integrate Russia into not only Western institutions but also global institutions.

I participated in two efforts to create good relationships between Russia and NATO – first the Permanent Joint Council and then NATO – Russia Council in 2003 and the idea there was to try to solve European security problems together. We had some good moments of work together, we worked together in Bosnia, after a difficult start we deployed together assure peace and security in Kosovo, people often forget that. Our interest[s] align on many things. We helped ensure that Russia came into WTO, when it was able to make its legislation and practices WTO-compliant, we worked on that for many, many years, we helped bring Russia into the OECD ….

The problem that we’ve had in recent history begins with the fact that Russia broke the rules of the road. It violated international law, when it invaded first Crimea and then supported separatism in Eastern Ukraine. So it attempts to change borders by force, which was one of the fundamental tenets of the international law, not just in the Euro-Atlantic space but globally.

So from that perspective, if you want to have Russia that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic system, it has to live up to the fundamental tenets that we all agreed to in Helsinki and that undergird the UN Charter. Russia can’t benefit from the system while breaking its rules. That’s the root of our concern in Ukraine, that for all of that period from the time that the Soviet Union collapsed, one of the key things was not changing borders by force. And that’s the problem that we have.

That said, where we can we work, where our interests are aligned, where we are working within the international system, we do OK. Witness the Iran agreement, where our interests were very much in alignment. So, we are not prepared to change the fundamental principles and rules of the international system and the UN Charter whenever they don’t suit Russia’s interests. But by that same token we’ll continue, where we can, work together, when we can.

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[featured image is file photo]