(SEOUL) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has accused Mitt Romney of being stuck in the Cold War, after the Republican presidential candidate said Russia was the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.”
At a news conference in Seoul, Medvedev dismissed Romney’s Monday remarks, saying they “smell of Hollywood.”
Medvedev told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. presidential candidates should explain their rationale for such statements, according to the Russian Interfax news agency. He advised Romney and the other candidates to look at their watches, saying “now is not the mid-70s.”
Romney’s comments came in an interview with CNN on Monday. He cited Russia’s support for “the world’s worst actors,” including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has led a bloody crackdown on an opposition movement that is seeking his ouster.
The former Massachusetts governor was responding to comments by President Obama to Medvedev Monday. The two were overheard on an open microphone discussing a contentious U.S. missile-defense shield plan in eastern Europe that Russia opposes. Obama told Medvedev to allow him some “space” and that he’ll have more “flexibility” to negotiate with Moscow after the November election. Medvedev pledged to pass along the message to Vladimir Putin, who will return to the Kremlin in May for a third term as president.
Romney said he was “very concerned” about the exchange.
“The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed,” he said.
Medvedev told reporters Tuesday that Russia wants to continue dialogue with the United States regardless of the results of the November election, but he said that the level of trust will depend on the personality of who wins.
“I hope that the dialogue with the United States of America will continue … regardless of whoever sits in the White House,” he said, according to RIA Novosti.
“And the level of trust always depends on who performs specific duties, including the president of the United States,” he added.
He said that consultations must continue between the United States and Russia in order to resolve the differences that persist, warning that a new arms race could emerge if talks fail.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Steve Almasy, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
Georgia McCafferty and Junko Ogura, CNN