US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said that Russia must "respect the sovereignty of all nations," while simultaneously calling on Russia to stop supporting the sovereignty of the Syrian government, during a joint press conference with the Spanish Minister of Defence Pedro Morones in Madrid, Monday. The Pentagon chief held the conference at the Superior Centre for National Defence Studies (CESEDEN, Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional) after being welcomed with military honours to Madrid. Carter claimed that Russia used its power to "undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries, flouted international norms and destabilised the European security order", threatening Russia that the US would "take all necessary steps to deter Russia's malign and destabilising influence, coercion and aggression", adding that the US would "leverage strong and modern US forces, the finest fighting force the world have ever known." Carter also accused Russia of continuing to "violate international law and alienate the international community" by supporting the government of Syria, adding that the "Assad regime cannot last. The only question is what will happen to Syria and the region when it falls." Carter is currently on a tour of Spain, visiting the American military base in Moron de la Frontera where American and Spanish troops will hold joint military drills just a few weeks after a defence cooperation agreement signed between both nations that will include the permanent deployment of 2,000 US marines and a temporary deployment of 800 at the air base in Moron de la Frontera.
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