'Russia may try to strike back at US'
"The sanction war between Russia and the United States is a symptom of a deeper confrontation between Moscow and Washington, which has been going on for three years after Euromaydan in Ukraine. Trump's victory in the November presidential election in the United States signaled that there could be an improvement in relations between the US and Russia, but Moscow's alleged interference in US elections and the control of the links of Trump's campaign to Russia by the US Congress created serious obstacles to improving bilateral ties. The recent US sanctions and Russian counter-measures show that tensions between Moscow and Washington are only increasing."
Chief analyst of the American Intelligence and Analytical Center Stratfor Evgene Chausovsky told Azeri.Today that in addition to the expulsion of US diplomats, Russia could try to strike back at the US in other ways, including to react asymmetrically in various contested/overlapping theaters between Moscow and Washington. One of the main theaters for this will be Ukraine, where Russia can force the separatists to intensify military operations in the Donbass as a means of exerting pressure on Kiev and its Western supporters. Another primary theater will be in Syria, where Russia can abandon the recently concluded ceasefire agreement with the United States and play a greater role as a spoiler against the West-backed rebel forces in a long-term conflict.
"Russia is also establishing ties in other, secondary theaters as a means of increasing its leverage over the United States in their ongoing negotiation process. In Venezuela, where the long-awaited political crisis may accelerate in the light of growing signals that the United States can impose sanctions against the state-owned oil company PdVSA, Russia increasingly participates in the asylum negotiations with President Nicholas Maduro. In North Korea, Russia is building economic and energy ties with Pyongyang, just like the United States was preparing sanctions for North Korea's nuclear tests in the UN Security Council, where Russia has the right to veto. And in Afghanistan, Russia is building diplomatic and potential ties with the Taliban, just like the US is working to expand its military presence in the country. Thus, Russia could increase pressure on the United States in any of these theaters," Chausovsky said.
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