Russia has turned into a convenient bogeyman used in the internal battles raging in the US political landscape, the Russian envoy to the UN says.
Although tensions are simmering, too much hinges on the bilateral relations, with the UN Security Council remaining one of the few cooperative platforms.
“We, unfortunately, became a very convenient scarecrow, including in the domestic political battles that are raging [in the US],” Vasily Nebenzya said in an interview with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze.
No thaw happened in the US-Russian relations with President Donald Trump coming into office due to “the domestic dimension and the political situation within the United States,” Nebenzya believes.
Relations have sunk to a new low after a series of diplomatic tit-for-tat measures, which started with the Obama administration expelling 35 Russian diplomats and denying access to the Maryland and New York compounds late last year. In August, Moscow responded by demanding a reduction in the number of US embassy and consulate staff, to which Washington retaliated and ordered three Russian diplomatic properties on its soil shuttered.
However, “too much depends on our bilateral relations, and it's not appropriate that they are so low these days and they should be improved, and that will be for the best – for the better of the world and not just our two countries,” he said.
“I will not make peace and security hostage to our bilateral relations,” Nebenzya added.
“The Security Council maybe is one of the few platforms left for us and the US to cooperate,” he said. “Hopefully, that platform that is the Security Council will help us in many things, including improving Russian-American relations.”
As to how work gets done in the Security Council despite the diplomatic standoff between the US and Russia, Nebenzya assures he has “no problem in communicating personally on good terms with any American colleague, not only Nikki Haley,” calling it “a professional camaraderie.”
With rhetoric occasionally flaring up at Security Council meetings, Nebenzya says he hadn’t engaged in a heated exchange with his colleagues.
“I think that the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, should not be a place for futile rhetoric and a spotlight to master their rhetorical skills,” he says, adding the UN should serve its main purpose: “to maintain the international peace and security.”
“I never, never imagine that the Russian and the American people have anything like hostility towards each other. It's the political situation that is to blame, but on a personal level we are all humans, first of all, and secondly, we feel sympathy towards Americans and I feel that Americans feel sympathy towards Russians,” Nebenzya says.
You can watch the full interview with the Russian envoy to the UN Friday on RT’s SophieCo.