MOSCOW, Russia – Russia wants to re-establish relations with the United States and the EU, but will react to NATO activities close to its borders, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
During his press conference in Moscow, the Russian chancellor stressed that while Russia is interested in improving relations with its western partners, the country will react to NATO’s approach to the Russian borders.
“We remain interested in re-establishing normal relations with the US and the EU on the principles of equality and mutual respect for the interests of each party. We will continue to react appropriately to the increase in NATO military activities and to the approximation of the military infrastructure of the alliance,”the minister said at a news conference in Moscow.
Relations between Russia and Western countries have worsened because of the situation in eastern Ukraine, where a coup d’état took place in 2014 and also because of the Crimea, which later reunified with Russia after a referendum.
Since then, the US, the European Union and other countries have adopted several packages of sanctions against Russia. The EU and the US have imposed restrictions on Russian citizens, companies and entire sectors of the economy. Moscow responded to these measures by imposing restrictions on imports of food products from the countries that support the sanctions.
Under the pretext of military exercises, NATO is concentrating its troops in countries neighboring Russia, said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel-General Aleksandr Fomin last week.
“NATO countries are setting up under the guise of exercises, they concentrate troops, heavy vehicles and armored vehicles in the Baltic countries, in Poland and in other countries,” Fomin told reporters.
According to the Russian colonel-general, the forces are increasing, including in NATO countries that owe much to Russia.
“We gave Poland 600,000 lives and now Poland is the main defender of all this: they are ready to open three commandos on their territory, another base,” Momin said.
On Friday, the Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that NATO “will continue to assess its presence in the Black Sea region,” where alliance ships are conducting routine patrols and drills, according to the spokeswoman for NATO, Oana Lungescu.
Recently, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that NATO continues to move constantly to the east, increasing its military presence in the Black and Baltic seas and carrying out a series of great military exercises. Such actions by the alliance countries “objectively lead to the militarization of the region, creating new risks and increasing the level of political-military confrontation,” added the representative.