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Top Putin Ally Says U.S. Wishes Russia Did Not Exist

  • RFE/RL

Nikolai Patrushev

Nikolai Patrushev

A senior Russian security official is asserting that the United States wishes Russia did not exist.

Russian Security Council Chairman Nikolai Patrushev, a top ally of President Vladimir Putin, made the comments in an interview published in the newspaper Kommersant on June 22.

Patrushev reiterated the Kremlin's claim that the United States engineered the upheaval that toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, saying Washington's goal was to "create an instrument to weaken Russia dramatically."

The United States "would very much like Russia not to exist at all -- as a country," he said.

Patrushev also claimed that the United States is seeking to keep European Union countries on a "short leash" by "forcing anti-Russia sanctions and approaches on them."

And he said that it is "not expedient" for Russia to get involved in what he called the "civil conflict" in Ukraine.

The United States rejects Russia's claim that it sought to bring down Yanukovych, and Kyiv and Western countries say Russia has provided direct military support to separatists fighting Ukrainian government forces in a conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people since April 2014.