Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that Moscow is a strategic competitor to Washington. It has occupied Crimea, wages war in Ukraine, threatens NATO allies and sends troops to Syria and Libya, the Pentagon’s press service reported.
“We live in an era of fierce competition for power. This means that our major strategic competitors are China, then Russia,” said the Minister.
The Defence Secretary called Russia a “global troublemaker.” He believes that NATO countries should contain the Kremlin. The expert called on the Allied States to spend more on defence.
“We need to contain Russia. We have to strengthen NATO and our partners, ” he suggested.
Tensions between NATO and Russia developed in 2014 amid Russian aggression against Ukraine in Crimea and Donbas. In particular, the final declaration of the NATO summit in 2019 called Russia’s actions a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.