05 Jan 2016 at 09:10 ET
Russia has no reason to consider the United States a threat to its national security, the Pentagon said Monday after Moscow published a report highlighting Washington and NATO for the first time.
Russia’s new national security document, signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year’s Eve, names as threats both the United States and the expansion of the NATO alliance, according to the Pentagon’s official news channel.
The previous document, from 2009, does not mention the United States or NATO.
“They have no reason to consider us a threat,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.
“We are not looking for conflict with Russia,” he added.
Russia’s characterization reflects worsening relations between Moscow and Washington, as the two powers remain opposed on Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.
“We have our differences … but it’s fundamentally wrong to look at the United States as a threat to Russia,” Davis added.
Still, the United States has previously used similar language to describe Moscow.
General Joseph Dunford, the top officer in the US military, said in July 2015 that Russia posed the biggest threat to American national security. The Pentagon said the new Russian document does not change Dunford’s assessment.
Speaking in Stuttgart, Germany on Monday, Dunford said he hoped to eventually meet with his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov.
“When you are in a period of difficulty, having a military-to-military, professional relationship … can, one, help you better understand what you are dealing with, and, two, mitigate the risk of miscalculation,” Dunford said.
Dunford is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and serves as the top military advisor for the president and defense secretary.