ANTALYA, Turkey (CBSDC/AP) – After spending all day Tuesday in Sochi in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State John Kerry is in Turkey, filling in NATO allies on the substance of those talks.
Kerry and Putin tried to ease tensions that have grown between the United States and Russia over the continuing crisis in Ukraine.
This at a time when relations between the two countries are at their worst in decades.
Of those who said the U.S. is a threat, 31 percent are worried about the possibility of an American invasion and occupation of Russia.
“Lately we can see that all the measures are directed at the consolidation of [Russians’] national identity. And depicting the United States as the enemy has become one of the structural elements for social consolidation,” Karina Pipiya, sociologist at the Levada Center, was quoted by Izvestia newspaper as saying, according to the Moscow Times.
And increasingly, Americans are saying they share distrust of Russia. A recent Gallup poll found 18 percent of Americans said Russia is the number one enemy of the United States.
In Turkey, Kerry said that NATO members were focused on getting Russia and Ukraine to adhere to the terms of a cease-fire agreement reached in February.
“I think that there is strong agreement among all the NATO members that this is a critical moment for action by Russia, by the separatists to live up to the Minsk agreement,” he said in Antalya. “This is an enormous moment of opportunity for the conflict there to find a path to certainty and resolution.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also called on Russia to take steps to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He said NATO has increased its presence along its eastern flank in the face of Russia’s increased assertiveness.
The NATO gathering also turned to the instability in the Middle East. Addressing the meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the Islamic State group posed an increasing threat on Turkey’s doorstep.
“This terrorist organization is a direct threat to our national security,” he said, adding that NATO needs to deal with the root causes of the IS group’s terrorism by looking at the economic and humanitarian dimensions as well as the military and political.
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