The Russian prime minister believes the world is slipping into a ‘new cold war’ after European leaders condemned his country’s airstrikes on Syria.
Speaking to a security conference in Munich, Dmitry Medvedev said a lack of cooperation between Russia and the West could threaten to return Europe to ’40 years ago, when a wall was standing’.
He also went on to reject the widely held belief that Russian planes had hit civilian targets in Syria.
There is no evidence of our bombing civilians, even though everyone is accusing us of this,” he said on Saturday. “Russia is not trying to achieve some secret goals in Syria. We are simply trying to protect our national interests. Creating trust is hard but we have to start. Our positions differ, but they do not differ as much as 40 years ago when a wall was standing in Europe. You could say even more sharply: we have fallen into a new cold war. Nearly on a daily basis, we are being blamed for the most terrible threat to Nato as a whole, to Europe, to America, to other countries. They make scary movies where Russia starts a nuclear war. I sometimes wonder: are we in 2016 or 1962?
The Cold War began after World War Two, with 45 years of tension between Russian and the West, with the imminent fear of a nuclear catastrophe that an actual war would bring.
Russia has come under strong criticism in recent weeks over its air strikes in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, rejected Medvedev’s accusations:
Russia’s rhetoric, posture and exercises of its nuclear forces are aimed at intimidating its neighbours, undermining trust and stability in Europe.
He added that Nato did not want an escalation but more dialogue with Russia.