Russia Today - Moscow accuses Washington of "anti-Russian" policy

MOSCOW, Dec 25, 1999 -- (AFP) Moscow on Friday accused Washington of pursuing an "anti-Russian" policy for domestic political reasons and again defended its bloody crackdown in Chechnya.

"Our relations with the United States are not going through their best of times," said the Russian foreign ministry's chief spokesman, Vladimir Rakhmanin, cited by news agencies in Moscow.

US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott completed a chilly Moscow visit Thursday in which he admonished Russia's war in the breakaway Chechen republic and failed to bridge ground on a burgeoning nuclear row.

"US policy in recent months has been increasingly dictated by domestic considerations. This is manifested in Washington's attempts to use economic levers against Moscow, including sanctions, on false pretexts," Rakhmanin added.

"While defending Russian interests and responding to anti-Russian attacks in a measured way, we are still set on a positive course in our relations and cooperation with the United States," he said pointedly.

"We think that such a policy meets the long-term interests of the US, whoever wins the (presidential) elections there" in 2000, the foreign ministry's top spokesman added.

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