The United States is seeking to engage and involve Russia on a range of international issues — including the most sensitive to their relations — but is often given the cold shoulder, according to U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft.
In an hour-long and exclusive joint interview Monday with VOA Russian Service's Danila Galperovich and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Irina Lagunina, Tefft described U.S. efforts to reach out to Russia despite ups and downs in political dialogue on Ukraine, Syria and NATO.
"You can ask the Russian side about that. I can tell you that we are determined," responded Tefft when it was suggested that dialogue did not appear to be working to calm military tensions between Russia and the NATO defense alliance.
Tefft described working at the U.S. Embassy in 1997 and taking part in the U.S.-Russia talks on the NATO-Russia Founding Act.
"My own personal view on this is that that document which was completed was never given much of a chance, particularly on the Russian side," he said.
"NATO is a defensive alliance, and I say that everywhere I can here in Russia. It's not an offensive organization. What NATO has done is prepare itself to protect its members."
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