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Faith Nyasuguta 

Amid escalating tensions with Washington over the Ukraine conflict, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has labeled the United States an “enemy” state. This declaration follows claims by former American intelligence officer Scott Ritter that he was prevented from visiting St. Petersburg and had his passport confiscated by border officials.

In response to Ritter’s claims, Peskov told reporters that the move to bar him from entering Russia could be understood if it related to his past intelligence activities. “We are now an enemy country for them, just as they are for us,” Peskov remarked. 

This marks a significant shift in rhetoric, as neither Peskov nor Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously referred to the United States or other “unfriendly” countries as enemies, according to the reputable Russian investigative website Agentstvo.

US president Joe Biden /North Country Public Radio/

Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and convicted sex offender, informed TASS that he was removed from a flight from New York to Istanbul while attempting to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia. He claimed that authorities provided no rationale for blocking his travel, suggesting they were following orders from the US State Department. 

Speaking to news outlets, a State Department spokesperson stated that they could not share information on the passport status of individual US citizens without their permission but noted that there are various circumstances under which a US passport may be revoked. These include active warrants, criminal records, fraud concerns, tax debt, and child support arrears.

Ritter has frequently been quoted by Russian state media, often echoing Kremlin narratives about Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s shift in language follows President Joe Biden’s recent authorization for Ukraine to use American-supplied weapons to target Russia. Last week, the Biden administration announced that it had moved at “lightning speed” to enable Kyiv to strike specific targets within Russia using these weapons. 

Previously, the Kremlin had described the US and other Western nations that support and arm Ukraine while imposing sanctions on Russia as “unfriendly states” or “opponents.”

In March, Peskov commented that Russia objected to US politicians who disrespected Putin but asserted that there was “no anti-American sentiment” in Moscow. He even expressed hope that “sooner or later the realization that the peoples of America and Russia are not enemies will eventually come.” However, in January, Putin had characterized Western elites as Russia’s true enemies, with Ukraine merely serving as their tool.

Russian President Vladimir Putin /Brookings Institution/

The Kremlin’s increasingly hostile rhetoric discloses the deepening geopolitical rift between Russia and the United States. As the conflict in Ukraine continues to evolve, the language used by both sides highlights the potential for further diplomatic and military confrontations. 

This shift in tone reflects the heightened state of animosity and the ongoing challenges in US-Russia relations, particularly in the context of the Ukraine war and its broader implications for global security and stability.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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