Russia says it doesn't 'especially need' diplomatic ties with West
A senior Russian official warned Saturday that Moscow may cut diplomatic ties with Western nations and freeze their assets as Russia's ties with the West dived to new lows over attacking Ukraine.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia's Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, also warned that Moscow could withdraw from the last nuclear arms deal with the US.
The latest US and Europe sanctions place new tight restrictions on Russian financial operations and technology exports to Russia, and also froze the assets of President Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister.
Washington and its allies say that even tougher sanctions are possible, including kicking Russia out of SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions.
In sarcastic comments posted on a Russian social platform, Medvedev dismissed the sanctions as a show of Western “political impotence” that will only consolidate the Russian leadership and foment anti-Western feelings.
“We are being driven out of everywhere, punished and threatened, but we don't feel scared,” he said, mocking the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies as an attempt to vindicate their past “shameful decisions, like a cowardly retreat from Afghanistan.”
Medvedev was placeholder president in 2008-2012 when Putin had to shift into the prime minister’s seat because of term limits. He then let Putin reclaim the presidency and served as his prime minister for eight years.
Medvedev also raised the prospect of cutting diplomatic ties with Western countries, charging that “there is no particular need in maintaining diplomatic relations” and adding that “we may look at each other in binoculars and gunsights."
Referring to Western threats to freeze the assets of Russian companies and individuals, Medvedev warned that Moscow wouldn't hesitate to do the same.