“[I]nternal quarrels prevent the establishment of such stability in international relations due to internal political reasons,” Putin said on March 11 during a meeting on investment promotion in Russia, according to the state-owned Russian News Agency TASS.
As an example of such internal conflicts, Putin referred to the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, which saw self-proclaimed supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Congress in an attempt to block its certification of U.S. President Joe Biden’s general election win on November 3:
Some of the people who took a stroll to the U.S. Congress — 150 people were arrested, they face imprisonment from 15 to 25 years. Will all these internal controversies end there or not? We do not know, but we want it to end, because we are interested in stable relations with all our main partners.
Putin said it was “impossible to say with certainty how the world’s lead economy’s relations with its main partners and competitors in Asia and Europe will unfold,” referring to the U.S.
Putin spoke with Biden over the phone on January 26 in their first official communication since the start of Biden’s presidential term earlier that month. The U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported the next day that the U.S. and Russian read-outs of the call differed “substantially.”
“The Kremlin statement … mentioned several specific matters that the White House readout did not. Two of them were agreements from which the United States withdrew under former President Donald Trump: the Open Skies Treaty and the 2015 deal between global powers and Iran,” RFE/RL noted.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in return for sanctions relief. JCPOA terms stipulated that a 2007 U.N. Security Council arms embargo on Iran would expire on October 18, 2020. The U.S. quit the JCPOA agreement in 2018 and tried unsuccessfully in August 2020 to extend the Iran arms embargo. Washington later reimposed sanctions on Iran through a U.N. “snapback” process. Biden reportedly withdrew the U.S. snapback sanctions on Iran in February.
Russia announced plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty in January 2021 citing the U.S.’s official exit from the deal in November 2020. The international treaty allows unarmed surveillance flights over the territory of its 34 member nations, which include most of the E.U. and Turkey.
The United States’ withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty in November 2020 “significantly upended the balance of interests of signatory states,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement announcing its plan to leave the pact.
“Moscow’s proposals to keep the treaty alive after the U.S. exit have been cold-shouldered by Washington’s allies,” the ministry further claimed in its statement, according to the Associated Press.