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US Seeks More Stable, Profitable Ties With Russia, Blinken Tells Paper

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ROME: The United States hopes to have more stable and profitable relations with Russia, but if the latter continues to “attack,” Washington will respond, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview published Tuesday in a newspaper.
“If Russia continues to attack us, or acts as it did with the SolarWind attacks, the intrusions in our elections and the aggression against Navalny, then we will respond,” he told the Italian daily La Repubblica.
Blinken, who was in Rome for a meeting on international efforts to combat the Islamist militia, was referring to the cyberattacks and the role of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Geneva that certain critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyberattacks.
China was “the most complicated” when it comes to relations, Blinken added, but said the United States respects the different relations countries have with China and will not ask either of them to choose between the two countries.
“However, it is true that when we deal with China, as an opponent, rival or partner, we are much more effective if we act together,” he added.
Blinken also said that Italy had made significant efforts in drafting legislation aimed at protecting its 5G network from “unreliable vendors” and that it should continue to carry out controls in the event of investment coming in from other countries.
The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid using Huawei-made equipment in its next-generation networks, saying the Chinese company could pose a security risk. Huawei has rejected the allegations.
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