Russia responded angrily on Saturday to a comment by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Kazakhstan might have a hard time getting rid of Russian troops, saying he should reflect instead on US military meddling around the world.
Blinken on Friday challenged Russia’s justification for sending forces into Kazakhstan after days of violent unrest in the Central Asian country.
“One lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” Blinken said.
Russia’s foreign ministry called Blinken’s remark “typically offensive” and accused him of joking about tragic events in Kazakhstan. It said Washington should analyze its own track record of interventions in countries such as Vietnam and Iraq.
“If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped,” the ministry said on its Telegram social media channel.
“We are taught this not only by the recent past but by all 300 years of American statehood.”
The ministry said the deployment in Kazakhstan was a legitimate response to Kazakhstan’s request for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, an alliance of ex-Soviet states that includes Russia.
The Kazakh intervention comes at a time of high tension in Moscow’s relations with Washington as the two countries prepare for talks on the Ukraine crisis starting on Monday.
Moscow has deployed large numbers of troops near its border with Ukraine but denies Western suggestions it plans to invade.
Meanwhile, Russia said on Sunday it was “disappointed” by signals from Washington and Brussels on the eve of talks in Geneva and that the United States was insisting on unilateral Russian concessions, the Interfax and RIA news agencies reported.
Talks between US and Russian diplomats begin in Geneva on Monday after a weeks-long standoff over Russian troop deployments near its border with Ukraine, with veteran envoys on each side trying to avert a crisis.
Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying Moscow was not optimistic going into the talks.