Russia on Tuesday called the United States an adversary and told U.S. warships to stay well away from Crimea “for their own good”, calling their deployment in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.
“The United States is our adversary and does everything it can to undermine Russia’s position on the world stage,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies.
“We do not see any other elements in their approach. Those are our conclusions,” they quoted him as saying. The comment was a sharp break with the usual language from Moscow, which has often referred to the United States in the past as “a partner”.
Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and two U.S. warships are due to arrive in the Black Sea this week amid an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine where government forces have battled Russian-backed separatists in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.