Strains between Russia and the West have plunged the world into a "new Cold War", Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.

With tensions high over the Ukraine conflict and Russia's backing of the Syrian government, Medvedev said: "All that's left is an unfriendly policy of NATO against Russia.

"We can say it even more clearly: We have slid into a new period of Cold War," he said, speaking at the Munich security conference.

"Almost every day we are accused of making new horrible threats either against NATO as a whole, against Europe, or against the US or other countries."


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Medvedev said Russian President Vladimir Putin told the same Munich conference in 2007 that the West's building of a missile defence system risked restarting the Cold War, and now "the picture is more grim; the developments since 2007 have been worse than anticipated".

Medvedev criticised the expansion of NATO and EU influence deep into formerly Soviet-ruled eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.

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"NATO's policies related to Russia remain unfriendly and opaque... Sometimes I wonder if it's 2016 or if we live in 1962."

The Russian prime minister added that "creating trust is hard ... but we have to start. Our positions differ, but they do not differ as much as 40 years ago when a wall was standing in Europe."

Medvedev's comments came three days after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced the Western military alliance would increase its presence in the Black Sea, which surrounds Crimea.

Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and has been accused of military involvement in secessionist movements in that country's east.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, who spoke after Medvedev, blasted Russia's actions in Ukraine and Syria and said they were "a demonstration that we live in a completely different universe with Russia".

"Every single day, Russian troops, Russian weapons, Russian ammunition penetrate into my country," said Poroshenko.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also sharply criticised Russia on Saturday at the conference for its actions in Ukraine and Syria, accusing Moscow of "repeated aggression" in both places.

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Source: Agencies