James Mattis, also known as "General James "Mad Dog" Mattis picked by Donald Trump to lead the Pentagon put Russia at the top of a list of threats to U.S. interests and told Congress that America must be ready to confront Moscow where necessary. This was reported by Reuters.
Mattis puts Russia on the list of US challenges, along with China and Islamist militants. These challenges are the biggest for America since World War Two, according to him.
"I'm all for engagement but we also have to recognize reality in what Russia is up to," Mattis said, adding there were a "decreasing number of areas" where the United States might cooperate with Moscow.
Asked about the main threats to U.S. interests, Mattis said: "I would consider the principle threats to start with Russia."
The "Mad Dog" Mattis accused Russia of trying to undermine NATO. Unlike Trump, who appeared to question the alliance during his campaign, Mattis strongly embraced it - calling NATO central to America's defense, the message says.
Earlier it was reported that US Congress prohibited Pentagon from cooperating with Russia while it encroaches on Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The only exception to this ban - permission to sign contracts with Russian suppliers of rocket engines.