Image By Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43927418
Russia–United States relations is the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Russian Federation, the main successor state to the Soviet Union when it collapsed in 1991. Russia and the United States maintain diplomatic and trade relations. Conditions were warm under President Boris Yeltsin (1991–99) but have fluctuated greatly under Vladimir Putin since then. In 2014, already strained relations greatly deteriorated due to the Russian intervention in Ukraine, and its annexation of Crimea. Severe economic and financial sanctions imposed by the European Union and the U.S. in 2014 continue to weaken the Russian economy. Relations in 2016 remain cold, and are complicated by sharp differences regarding Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
Background: the United States and the Soviet Union
In the late 1980s, Eastern European nations took advantage of the relaxation of Soviet control under Mikhail Gorbachev and began to break away from communist rule.
On 3 December 1989, Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush declared the Cold War over at the Malta Summit. In December 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Commonwealth of Independent States was formed.
With the ending of Communism, relations between Russia and the United States greatly improved in the final years of the USSR.
Putin and George W. Bush (January 2001-January 2009)
During the presidencies of Vladimir Putin, who assumed the top office on the last day of 1999, and U.S. president George W. Bush, the U.S. and Russia began to have serious disagreements. Under Putin, Russia became more assertive in international affairs; under Bush, the U.S. took an increasingly unilateral course in its foreign policy in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Nevertheless, Putin and Bush were said to have established good personal relations.
In 2002, the U.S. withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to move forward with plans for a missile defense system. Putin called the decision a mistake. Russia strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though without exercising its veto in the United Nations Security Council. Russia has regarded the expansion of NATO into the old Eastern Bloc, and U.S. efforts to gain access to Central Asian oil and natural gas as a potentially hostile encroachment on Russia’s sphere of influence.
Controversy over U.S. plan to station missiles in Poland
In March 2007, the U.S. announced plans to build an anti-ballistic missile defense installation in Poland along with a radar station in the Czech Republic. Both nations were former Warsaw Pact Members. U.S. officials said that the system was intended to protect the United States and Europe from possible nuclear missile attacks by Iran or North Korea. Russia, however, viewed the new system as a potential threat and, in response, tested a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-24, which it claimed could defeat any defense system. Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. that these new tensions could turn Europe into a “powder keg”. On 3 June 2007, Putin warned that if the U.S. built the missile defense system, Russia would consider targeting missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic.
On 16 October 2007, Vladimir Putin visited Iran to discuss Russia’s aid to Iran’s nuclear power program and “insisted that the use of force was unacceptable.” On October 17, Bush stated “if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” understood as a message to Putin. A week later Putin compared U.S. plans to put up a missile defense system near Russia’s border as analogous to when the Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba, prompting the Cuban Missile Crisis.
On 14 February 2008, Vladimir Putin said Russia might have to retarget some of its missiles towards the missile defense system: “If it appears, we will be forced to respond appropriately – we will have to retarget part of our systems against those missiles.” He also said that missiles might be redirected towards Ukraine if they went ahead with plans to build NATO bases within their territory, saying that “We will be compelled to aim our missiles at facilities that we consider a threat to our national security, and I am putting this plainly now so that the blame for this is not shifted later,”
On 8 July 2008, Russia announced that if a U.S. anti-missile shield is deployed near the Russian border, they will react militarily. The statement from the Russian foreign ministry said “If a U.S. strategic anti-missile shield starts to be deployed near our borders, we will be forced to react not in a diplomatic fashion but with military-technical means.” Later, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin stated that “military-technical means” does not mean military action, but more likely a change in Russia’s strategic posture, perhaps by redeploying its own missiles.
On 14 August 2008, the U.S. and Poland agreed to have 10 two-stage missile interceptors – made by Orbital Sciences Corporation – placed in Poland, as part of a missile shield to defend Europe and the U.S. from a possible missile attack by Iran. In return, the U.S. agreed to move a battery of MIM-104 Patriot missiles to Poland. The missile battery would be staffed – at least temporarily – by U.S. Military personnel. The U.S. also pledged to defend Poland – a NATO member – quicker than NATO would in the event of an attack. Additionally, the Czech Republic recently agreed to allow the placement of a radar-tracking station in their country, despite public opinion polls showing that the majority of Czechs are against the plans and only 18% support it. The radar-tracking station in the Czech Republic would also be part of the missile defense shield. After the agreement was announced, Russian officials said defences on Russia’s borders would be increased and that they foresee harm in bilateral relations with the United States
On 5 November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his first annual address to the Federal Assembly of Russia promised to deploy Iskander short-range missiles to Kaliningrad, near the border with American-backed Poland.
In August 2008, American-Russian relations were strained, when Russia invaded Georgia. Russia claimed that it was a mission to protect Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgian bombing of civilian areas. The United States supported Georgia in the conflict, sending humanitarian and military aid to Georgia and assisting with the withdrawal of Georgian troops from Iraq.
After the conflict, in 2009, U.S. Vice President Biden visited Georgia then said that the Russians “have a shrinking population base, have a withering economy, have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years.”
North Korean nuclear threat
On 25 May 2009, North Korea’s new nuclear test shocked North Korea’s bilateral relations with Russia and China. Russia responded to this new nuclear program by condemning North Korea’s move and that it could lead to a nuclear war. North Korea later threatened to attack its neighboring rival South Korea after it joined a U.S. led plan to check vessels suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction. Due to this, ambassadors from five permanent veto-wielding council members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States) were ready to have a meeting to make a new resolution to this nuclear strike. On June 15, 2009, Russia and China have both supported the new UN sanctions on North Korea.
While the U.S. favored sanctions and resolutions calling Assad to quit, Russia has refused to support such moves. In March 2012, a bipartisan group of 17 U.S. senators called on the Department of Defense to stop doing business with Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboroneksport over its arming of the Syrian government. The group of senators included John Cornyn, R-TX, Dick Durbin, D-IL., Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
“Reset” of relations under Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev (2009-2010)
Despite U.S.-Russia relations becoming strained during the Bush administration, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama struck a warm tone at the 2009 G20 summit in London and released a joint statement that promised a “fresh start” in U.S.-Russia relations. The statement also called on Iran to abandon its nuclear program and to permit foreign inspectors into the country.
In March 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov symbolically pressed a “reset” button. The gag fell short as the Russian on the button was wrongly translated by the State Department as “overload” instead of “reset”. After making a few jokes, they decided to press the button anyway.
On March 24, 2010, the United States and Russia reached an agreement to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The new nuclear arms reduction treaty (called New START) was signed by President Obama and President Medvedev on April 8, 2010. The agreement cut the number of long-range nuclear weapons held by each side to about 1,500, down from the current 1,700 to 2,200 set by the Moscow Treaty of 2002. The New START replaced the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired in December 2009.
By 2012 It was clear that a genuine reset never happened and relations remained sour. Factors in the West include traditional mistrust and fear, an increasing drift away from democracy by Russia, and a demand in Eastern Europe for closer political, economic and military integration with the West. From Russia Factors include a move away from democracy by Putin, expectations of regaining superpower status and the tactic of manipulating trade policies and encouraging divisions within NATO.
Putin’s third term
In March 2012, with the election of Putin back to presidency, White House spokesman Jay Carney said U.S.-Russian cooperation is based on mutual interests. He also said it is a policy based on an approach based on U.S. national interests and the areas where the U.S can reach an agreement with Russia on things like Iran, on trade and other matters.
In May 2012, Russian General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov said that there is a possibility of a preemptive strike on missile defense sites in Eastern Europe, to apply pressure to the United States regarding Russia’s demands. In July 2012, two Tu-95 Bears were intercepted by NORAD fighters in the air defense zone off the U.S. coast of Alaska, where they may have been practicing the targeting of Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base. Later in August 2012, it was revealed that an Akula-class submarine had conducted a patrol within the Gulf of Mexico without being detected, raising alarms of the U.S. Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
On 14 December 2012, President Barack Obama signed the called the Magnitsky Act, which “[imposed] U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia”. On 28 December 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill, widely seen as retaliatory, that banned any United States citizen from adopting children from Russia.
On February 12, 2013, just hours before the 2013 State of the Union Address, two Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles circled the United States territory of Guam. Air Force F-15 jets based on Andersen Air Force Base were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. The Russian aircraft reportedly “were intercepted and left the area in a northbound direction.”
There have been increasing concerns that Russia is violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987. Based on a classified briefing in 2012 with John Kerry, at the time acting as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, these compliance concerns have already been voiced. By the end of 2013, it was clear that a rearmament of the Novosibirsk and Tagil divisions with the mobile Yars missile system by solid-propelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) has been taking place. The silo-based RS-26 Rubezh missile system is based on upgraded RS-24 Yars rockets that can carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads, and most importantly, they are equipped to evade the anti-ballistic missile defense installations in Poland. Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department’s senior arms control official, has discussed these possible threats with Russian officials in May 2013, but the White House has not yet clarified whether the deployment of these missile systems are indeed violating the aforementioned agreement.
North Korean threat 2013
In April 2013, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered missiles to be ready to launch at U.S. military bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam. Russia immediately supported U.N. sanctions against North Korea. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov specifically told North Korea to stop causing tensions in the Korean peninsula. Both Russia and China have condemned North Korea’s actions and support U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
Edward Snowden affair
Edward Snowden, a contractor for the United States government, copied and released hundreds of thousands of pages of secret American government documents. He fled to Hong Kong, and then to Russia which in July 2013 Russia granted him political asylum. He was wanted on a criminal warrant by U.S. prosecutors for theft of government property and espionage.
The granting of asylum further aggravated relations between the two countries and led to the cancellation of a meeting between Obama and Putin that was scheduled for early September 2013 in Moscow. Snowden remains in Russia as of 2016.
Ukraine crisis: 2014-present
Following the collapse of the government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, in March 2014 Russia annexed Crimea on the basis of a controversial referendum. The U.S. submitted a UN Security Council resolution declaring the referendum to be illegal; it was vetoed by Russia on March 15; China abstained and the other 13 Security Council members voted for the resolution. On March 24, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the USA suspended Russia from the G-8 economic conference (making it the G-7). A non-binding resolution at the UN General Assembly declared the Crimean referendum invalid with showed votes in favor, 11 against, and 58 abstentions. Crimea’s status as a part of Russia remains unrecognized.
As unrest spread into eastern Ukraine in the spring of 2014, relations between the U.S. and Russia worsened. Russian support for separatists fighting Ukrainian forces attracted U.S. sanctions. After one bout of sanctions announced by President Obama on July 16, 2014, Putin said sanctions were driving Russia into a corner that could bring relations between the two countries to a “dead-end.”
From March 2014 to 2016, six rounds of sanctions were imposed by the US, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan. The first three rounds targeted individuals close to Putin by freezing their assets. Anyone on the blacklist of the core Russian leadership had their assets frozen, and were not issued visas. Putin responded by cutting off most food shipments from Europe intended for Russian consumers. Later sanctions cut off Russian corporations from Western financing.
On July 17, 2014, Russia was blamed for giving missiles to its supporters in Ukraine who then shot down a scheduled passenger airliner. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. Independent sources concluded that the missile had been fired from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, who were supplied by Russia with sophisticated weapons, training, heavy arms, and anti-aircraft equipment.
The end of 2014 saw the passage by the US of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, aimed at depriving certain Russian state firms from Western financing and technology while also providing $350 million in arms and military equipment to Ukraine, and the imposition by the US President’s executive order of yet another round of sanctions.
Due to the situation concerning Ukraine, relations between the United States and Russia are at their worst since the end of the Cold war.
The annexation of Crimea was denounced by most of the international community including the UN, NATO, EU and the U.S. as a violation of international law. Crimea’s status as a part of Russia remains recognized by only a handful of countries long associated with Moscow.
Scholars have explored the reasons the Kremlin provided for its actions in Ukraine comparing them to its geopolitical goals. Thomas Ambrosio says the Kremlin justified its role by claiming that Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was a legal act of self-determination; that Russia possesses justifiable historical, cultural, and legal claims to Crimea; and that Western attacks on Russia’s actions are dishonest and merely reflected a lingering anti-Russian, Cold War mentality. John Biersack and Shannon O’Lear argue that when a pro-European Union government came to power in Ukraine, Moscow worked to create a secessionist referendum in Crimea. It justified its moves by appeals to Russia’s geopolitical and historical imaginations of Crimea. Its real goals, they argue, were to control naval bases of the Russian Black Sea fleet and to seize much of Ukraine’s Black Sea energy potential and existing oil facilities.
Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War (from 30 September 2015)
According to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov′s statement made in mid-October 2015, prior to the start of its air campaign on the side of the Syrian government headed by president Bashar al-Assad of Syria on 30 September 2015, Russia had invited the U.S. to join the Baghdad-based information center set up by Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia to coordinate their military efforts, but received what he called an “unconstructive” response; Putin′s proposal that the U.S. receive a high-level Russian delegation and that a U.S. delegation arrive in Moscow to discuss co-operation in Syria was likewise declined by the U.S.
In early October 2015, U.S. president Obama called the way Russia was conducting its military campaign in Syria a “recipe for disaster”; top U.S. military officials ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other senior U.S. officials said Russia’s campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad, whom U.S. president Barack Obama had repeatedly called upon to leave power.
Three weeks into the Russian campaign in Syria, on 20 October 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin met Bashar Assad in Moscow to discuss their joint military campaign and a future political settlement in Syria, according to the Kremlin report of the event. The meeting provoked a sharp condemnation from the White House.
While one of the original aims of the Russian leadership may have been normalisation of the relationship with the U.S. and the West at large, the resultant situation in Syria was said in October 2015 to be a proxy war between Russia and the U.S. The two rounds of the Syria peace talks held in Vienna in October and November 2015, with Iran participating for the first time, highlighted yet again the deep disagreement over the Syrian settlement between the U.S. and Russia, primarily on the issue of Bashar Assad’s political future. The talks in Vienna were followed by a bilateral meeting of Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Turkey, during which a certain consensus between the two leaders on Syria was reported to have been reached.
Bilateral negotiations over Syria were suspended by the U.S on the 3rd of October 2016, dramatically increasing tensions between Russia and the U.S. The suspension of negotiations came in response to a concerted aerial and ground offensive on Aleppo by Syrian and Russian troops despite U.S warnings. In response, Russia has withdrawn itself from a plutonium disposal treaty with the US, citing “Hostile actions” by the United States as its justification.
Russian intelligence operations
According to the 2007 reports referring to American sources, Russian espionage under Vladimir Putin had reached Cold War levels.
Mutual perceptions by the countries’ populations
A poll by the University of Maryland, College Park, released early July 2009 found that only 2 percent of Russians had “a lot of confidence” that American President Barack Obama would do the right thing in world affairs. Russian media has criticized the United States over the past years for pursuing an anti-missile system in Europe, for favoring NATO expansion and for supporting Georgia in its armed conflict with Russia in 2008.
Prior to 2014, the Russian press expressed varying opinions of Russian-American relations. Russian media treatment of America ranged from doctrinaire and nationalistic to very positive toward the United States and the West. In 2013, 51 percent of Russians had a favorable view of the U.S., down from 57 percent in 2010.
The opinion polls taken by the independent Levada Center in January 2015, showed 81 percent of Russians tend to hold negative views of the US, a number that had nearly doubled over the previous 12 months and that was by far the highest negative rating since the center started tracking those views in 1988, as well as surpassing any time since the Stalin era, according to observers. This contrasts with only 7 percent of Russians in April 1990 who said they had bad or somewhat bad attitudes towards the US. Likewise, the figures published by Gallup in February 2015 showed a significant rise in anti-Russian sentiment in the US: the proportion of Americans who considered Russia as a “critical military threat” had over the 12 months increased from 32 to 49 percent, and, for the first time in many years, Russia topped the list of America’s perceived external enemies, ahead of North Korea, China and Iran, with 18 percent of U.S. residents putting Russia at the top of the list of the “United States’ greatest enemy today”. Public opinion polls taken by the Pew Research Center showed that favorable U.S. public opinion of Russia was at 22 percent in 2015. The most negative view of Russia was at 19 percent in 2014, and the most positive view at 49 percent in 2010 and 2011. The most negative view of the United States was at 15 percent in 2015, while the most positive view was at 61 percent in 2002.
The mutual perceptions are influenced by information/propaganda networks:
- The USA supports Radio Liberty in Russian, Chechen and several other languages used in Russia.
- Russia supports RT (TV network) ($307 million planned for 2016 for all channels).
Timeline of relations between the U.S. and Russia
The timeline covers key events, 1991 to present.
Yeltsin era, 1991–2000
- 1991: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and USSR President Gorbachev sign START I treaty, July 31.
- 1991: August: Soviet hardliners stage a coup against Gorbachev; they fail because of defiance by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Communism collapses overnight in the USSR.
- 1991: Gorbachev announces the dissolution of the USSR into 15 independent republics; Russia is the successor state to USSR.
- 1992: Russian President Yeltsin visits the U.S. on January 26. He and Bush set up the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on P.O.W./M.I.A.’s. Its mission is to discover what happened to POWs and those missing in action during the Cold War, as well as planes shot down, missing submarines. The committee had access to classified archives from the FBI and the KGB.
- 1992: The Lisbon Protocol calls for the denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan. May 23.
- 1992: Russia attends the Washington Summit on June 16.
- 1992: The U.S. and Russia sign an Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes on June 17.
- 1993: Bush and Yeltsin sign the START II treaty in Moscow on January 3.
- 1993: First summit meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Yeltsin on April 4 in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss a new and expanded $1 billion aid package intended to support Russian democrats and to fund medical supplies, food and grain assistance as well as loans to Russian entrepreneurs.
- 1993: The U.S. announces a bilateral aid program of $1.8 billion for Russia and the former Soviet republics on July 9 to 10.
- 1993: The U.S.-Russian Commission on technical cooperation in energy and space has its first meeting in Washington, D.C. on August 31 to September 2.
- 1994: Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin sign the Kremlin accords on January 14 in Moscow.
- 1994: First joint U.S.-Russian Space Shuttle mission on February 3.
- 1994: The U.S. and Russia move to end the practice of aiming their strategic nuclear missiles at each other on May 30.
- 1994: Russia joins the Partnership for Peace program on June 22.
- 1995: Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin hold a summit on European Security in Moscow on May 9 to May 10.
- 1995: Russia joins the NATO-led IFOR in the aftermath of the Bosnian War on December 20.
- 1996: Ratification of START II treaty on January 26.
- 1996: Clinton and Yeltsin attend the Summit of the Peacemakers in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt to condemn the terrorist attacks in Israel and to declare their support for the Middle East peace process on March 14.
- 1996: Clinton attends a Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security with Yeltsin in Moscow on April 20.
- 1997: Russia joins the NATO-led Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to cooperate on political and security issues on January 1.
- 1997: Clinton and Yeltsin hold another summit on European Security in Helsinki, Finland, on March 21. They reach some economic agreements, but there is continued disagreement on NATO expansion.
- 1997: April. Moscow summit with Chinese president Jiang Zemin disapproves of American world domination; agree to reduce troops along Russia-China border.
- 1997: Russia attends the NATO summit in Paris, France, on May 27.
- 1997: The NATO-Russia Founding Act provides the formal basis of bilateral cooperation between the U.S., Russia and NATO is signed on May 27. Allows participation in NATO decision making; Russia agrees to drop opposition to NATO expansion in Central Europe.
- 1997: Russia joins the G8 at the 23rd G8 summit in Denver, Colorado, on June 20 to June 22.
- 1998: Clinton and Yeltsin agree to exchange information on missile launchings and to remove 50 metric tons of plutonium from their countries’ nuclear weapons stocks in a summit in Moscow on September 1 to 2.
- 1999: Russia joins the NATO-led KFOR in the aftermath of the Kosovo War on June 12.
- 1999: March: Operation Allied Force: NATO bombing of Yugoslavia to force it out of Kosovo. Moscow attacked it as a breach of international law and a challenge to Russia’s status in the Balkans.
- 1999: Clinton and Yeltsin meet at an Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe Summit Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, from November 18–19, to discuss arms control, Chechnya and events in Europe. Clinton remarks that the international community does not dispute Russia’s right to defend its territorial integrity and to fight terrorism.
Putin era, 2000 to present
- 2000: Clinton visits Moscow to meet with newly elected Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 3 to 5.
- 2000: Clinton and Putin meet at the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York City to call a plea for world peace on September 6.
- 2001: Newly elected President George W. Bush has a very friendly meeting with Putin at the Slovenia summit on June 16. At the closing press conference, Bush said: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straight-forward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Bush’s top security aide Condoleezza Rice realized that Bush’s phrasing had been a serious mistake. “We were never able to escape the perception that the president had naïvely trusted Putin and then been betrayed.”
- 2001: Russia supports the U.S. in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on September 12.
- 2001: Russia opens a military hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, to help the NATO military forces and Afghan civilians on December 2.
- 2002: Bush and Putin meet in Moscow and sign the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty and declaration on a new strategic relationship between the U.S. and Russia on May 24.
- 2002: NATO and Russia create the NATO-Russia Council during Rome summit on May 28.
- 2003: The “Roadmap for Peace” proposal developed by the U.S. in cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations (the Quartet), was presented to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on April 30.
- 2004: Bush gives condolences to Putin in the aftermath of the Beslan school hostage crisis on September 21.
- 2006: Bush and Putin jointly announced the organization of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism on July 16.
- 2006: The U.S. and Russia condemn North Korea’s first nuclear launch test on October 6.
- 2008: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the U.S. for the first time at the 2008 G-20 summit in Washington D.C. from November 14 to November 15.
- 2009: February: US Vice President Joe Biden suggests the new Obama administration would like to “reset” America’s relationship with Russia, which had deteriorated to its lowest point since the Cold War after Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008.
- 2009: Newly elected President Barack Obama and Medvedev meet for the first time at the G20 Summit in London on April 1; they pledge to “deepen cooperation” on issues like nuclear terrorism.
- 2009: The U.S. and Russia disapprove the nuclear test by North Korea on May 25.
- 2009: Obama and Medvedev announce the Obama–Medvedev Commission to improve communication and cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in Moscow on July 6.
- 2009: U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov sign a new strategic framework for military-to-military engagement between the U.S. and Russia on July 7.
- 2009: Obama administration cancels the eastern European missile defense program denounced by Russian.
- 2009: Russia agrees to allow U.S. and NATO troops and supplies to pass through Russia on route to Afghanistan on December 16.
- 2010: Obama and Medvedev sign New START treaty in Prague, Czech Republic, to replace the START I and it will eventually see the reduction of both nations’ nuclear arsenals to 1,500 warheads for both the U.S. and Russia on April 8.
- 2010: The U.S. and Russia call for Iran to give up on its nuclear weapons program along with the United Kingdom, France and China on June 9.
- 2010. Obama and Medvedev sign the “New START” (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty”. Goal is to reduce the deployed nuclear warheads on both sides by roughly 30 percent, down to 1,550. The treaty also limits the number of nuclear-armed submarines and bombers. New START went into force on February 2011.
- 2010: The U.S. and Russia conduct a joint anti-hijacking exercise called Vigilant Eagle-2010 on August 14.
- 2010: Foreign ministers from the U.S., Russia and NATO meet in New York to discuss areas of cooperation like Afghanistan, fighting piracy and combatting terrorism as well as ways of enhancing security within Europe on September 22.
- 2010: Medvedev attends the 2010 NATO summit in Portugal, from November 19 to November 20. The U.S., Russia and NATO agree to cooperate on missile defense and other security issues as well as allowing more supplies for the U.S. and NATO to pass through Russia on route to Afghanistan as well as supplying Afghan armed forces with helicopters.
- 2011: The New START treaty is ratified in Munich, Germany, by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 5.
- 2011: Ministers from the U.S., Russia and NATO meet in Berlin, Germany to discuss the situation in Libya and Afghanistan, as well as ongoing work on outlining the future framework for missile defence cooperation between the U.S., Russia and NATO on April 15.
- 2011: Russia congratulates the U.S. on the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.
- 2011–present: Syrian Civil War; the government receives technical, financial, military and political support from Russia, while the U.S. favors some of the rebels. Russia provides diplomatic support in the United Nations as well. Russia has an interest in a military presence in the region, and in suppressing its own Muslim militants. It also rejects regime change imposed by the Best.
- 2011: American, Russian and NATO ambassadors meet in Sochi, Russia, to restate their commitment to pursuing cooperation on missile defense as well as cooperation in other security areas of common interest on July 4.
- 2011: American, Russian and NATO diplomats meet in New York to announce they have made progress in combating terrorism and enhancing Afghan transit on September 22.
- 2012: Russia agrees to host a U.S. and NATO transit hub at Ulyanovsk airport to help the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 on March 21.
- 2012: Obama and Medvedev meet at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to discuss the increase economic trade on March 26.
- 2012: The U.S., Russia and NATO hold missile defense exercises in Germany, from March 26 to March 30.
- 2012: American, Russian and NATO military forces agree to strengthen cooperation to counter piracy in the Horn of Africa on March 27.
- 2012: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends the 38th G8 summit in Maryland, from May 18 to May 19.
- 2012: Russia joins the U.S. and NATO at the Chicago Summit on May 20.
- 2012: Obama and Putin meet at the 7th G-20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, and call for an end to the Syrian civil war on June 18 to 19.
- 2012: American and Russian navies participate in the RIMPAC 2012 naval exercises from June 29 to August 3.
- 2012: Russia joins the WTO and begins trade with the U.S. on August 22.
- 2013: Russia supports the U.S. against North Korea for North Korea building up tensions in the Korean peninsula and for threatening the U.S. during the crisis with North Korea on April 8.
- 2013: The U.S. and Russia agree to intensify their cooperation in countering terrorism, including information exchange between intelligence organizations and conduct joint counter-terrorist operations as well as signing a cyber security pact to reduce the risk of conflict in cyberspace and signing the New Anti-Proliferation Deal in order to protect, control and account for nuclear materials on June 17 during the 39th G8 summit.
- 2013: Obama and Putin make progress on the discussion of Syria at the end of the 2013 G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 6.
- 2013 August 7. President Obama cancels an upcoming summit with Putin; journalists call it “a rare, deliberate snub that reflects the fresh damage done by the Edward Snowden case to an important relationship already in decline.”
- 2013: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet in Geneva, Switzerland, and agree to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons on September 14.
- 2013: The U.S. and Russia along with the United Kingdom, France, China and Germany sign a deal with Iran about their nuclear program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 27.
- 2014: The Geneva II Conference
- 2014: The U.S. Olympics team arrives in Sochi, Russia, to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics on January 30.
- 2014 – Continuing. see Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present)
- 2014: The U.S. and Russia along with the European Union and Ukraine talk in Geneva about the crisis in Ukraine and reach an agreement to end the crisis on April 17.
- 2014: The U.S. and Russia start sending aid to Iraq to help fight ISIS on June 5.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia along with members of the European Union and Ukraine welcome the new Minsk agreement to stop the War in Donbasson February 12.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia agree to build a new space station to replace the International Space Station and to make a joint project to travel to Mars on March 28.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia along with the United Kingdom, France, China, Germany, the European Union and Iran sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to regulate Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna, Austria on July 14.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia reach an agreement on a UN resolution that would designate accountability for use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 6.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia resume military relations to increase fighting against the Islamic State on September 18.
- 2015: Obama and Putin meet in New York to discuss ways to combat the Islamic State on September 28–29.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia sign a deal to avoid air incidents over Syria on October 20.
- 2015: Obama and Putin have an informal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Turkey to discuss the situation in Syria and the ramifications of the Paris attacks on November 15.
- 2015: The U.S., Russia and the United Nations hold three way talks on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland on December 11.
- 2015: The U.S. and Russia, along with the United Nations approve a resolution that supports international efforts to seek a solution to end the Syrian Civil War and provide a new government in Syria in Vienna, Austria on December 18.
- 2016 June: A debate opens inside the Republican Party on future American policy toward Russia. The presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump has business experience in Russia and has exchanged public compliments with Putin. He proposes they might work together in areas such as Syria. Meanwhile, on June 9, Republican leaders in Congress urged escalating confrontation with Putin, alleging that he is exhibiting “burgeoning militarism” and calling for “standing up to Russian aggression and bolstering countries such as Ukraine.”
- 2016 October: Russians ally warns to American people to vote US president republican nominee Donald Trump russian threat to nuclear war on United States Of America.