Washington, DC. In news more sad than surprising, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has come out saying that in his opinion, Russia does not want better relations with the USA, just a continued adversarial relationship of “competition.”

US senators said on Monday they were close to an agreement on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, including a possible provision that would prevent the White House from easing sanctions without congressional approval.

Democrats and Republicans on the Foreign Relations and Banking Committees have been negotiating for about a week on an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill that also would impose sanctions to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, alleged involvement in the Donbass war and support for the government of Syria in that country’s six-year-long civil war.

America’s most powerfull military figure, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday there was no indication that Russia wanted a positive relationship with the United States, saying it had chosen to be a strategic competitor.

“At this time … I do not see any indication that Mr. Putin would want a positive relationship with us. That is not to say we can’t get there as we look for common ground,” Mattis told a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

“But at this point, Russia has chosen to be competitive, a strategic competitor with us and we will have to deal with that as we see it,” he said. Another American general Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the United States had an adversarial relationship with Russia.

The Russian Federation said on Saturday it had told the United States it was unacceptable for Washington to strike pro-government forces in Syria after the American military carried out air strikes on pro-Syrian government militia forces.

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