Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu Thursday fended off a comment by US Defense Secretary James Mattis urging the US to negotiate with Russian from “a position of strength.”
The exchange of barbs came before the first meeting in three years between the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford and his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

 “We are ready to restore cooperation with the Pentagon,” Shoigu said in a statement. “But attempts to build a dialogue from a position of strength in relation to Russia have no prospects.” Mattis made his remarks at the NATO defense ministers’ conference in Brussels Wednesday.