Obama brands Russia 'a regional power'

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Obama brands Russia 'a regional power'

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US tension with Russia will not have eased any, with remarks made by President Barack Obama at the close of a nuclear security summit in the Hague.

Answering questions about Ukraine, he downplayed Moscow’s global influence and its motives, amid the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbours, not out of strength but out of weakness,” Obama said.

It is four years since he initiated the international nuclear security summits, aimed at preventing terrorists from obtaining atomic bombs.

Hailing progress made at this year’s two-day gathering, he said further efforts were needed.

“We still have a lot more work to do to fulfill the ambitious goals we set four years ago to fully secure all nuclear and radiological material, civilian and military, so that it can no longer pose a risk to any of our citizens,” Obama said.

“I believe that this is essential to the security of the entire world and given the catastrophic consequences of even a single attack, we cannot be complacent.”

Of 53 countries taking part in the summit, 35 have pledged to incorporate international guidelines on nuclear security into their national laws. They have also committed to allowing independent experts to review their security procedures.

“Officials here say this agreement represents an important step in improving nuclear security. But there are two problems,” said euronews correspondent in The Hague, James Franey.

“First, it is not legally binding, relying on the goodwill of all the nations involved. And another key question is just how far-reaching the deal is when Russia, the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, has refused to sign up.”