MOSCOW (APP) - State television threatens the West with nuclear weapons , the Kremlin halts a disarmament treaty, the army warns of shooting down US jets. As ties between Russia and the West have once again slumped, rhetoric in Moscow has peaked.
"Relations between Russia and the US , and the West in general, have been dragged down to the bottom, to a level below which it is difficult to fall," Konstantin Kalachev , the head of the Moscow-based Political Expert Group think tank, told.
But it wasn't meant to be like this.
Just over a month ago Moscow and Washington inked a deal to revive a ceasefire in Syria and the Kremlin seemed to have scored a tactical win by getting the United States to open the door to coordinate strikes against jihadists .
The agreement -- hammered out after repeated rounds of exhausting talks -- appeared a potential breakthrough in Syria's civil war and years of bad blood and furious mudslinging between Moscow and Washington sparked by the Ukraine crisis.
Many, however, were sceptical that the Kremlin and White House, on opposite sides in Syria, could begin to bury the hatchet -- and so it proved.
Soon the truce collapsed and as the violence spiralled so did the ferocious acrimony.
Washington suspended talks with the Kremlin on Syria; Moscow tore up a treaty on disposing weapons-grade plutonium; the West accused Russia and Syria of potential war crimes in its brutal attacks on rebel-held east Aleppo.
The US then formally accused Moscow of hacking American institutions to interfere in its looming presidential election.
"Russia went further, turning a local breakdown in bilateral relations into a global one," wrote Alexander Baunov from the Carnegie Moscow Center.
As President Vladimir Putin suspended the plutonium deal, he slapped on a raft of staggering conditions for it to be restarted: Washington needed to pull back forces in eastern Europe , scrap sanctions and pay Moscow compensation.