MOSCOW – Russia is ready to work with NATO, despite the Alliance’s strong presence near its borders and unsubstantiated claims of a Russian threat, but all proposals from Moscow are falling on deaf ears, warned Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“Not only is it interrupted but it is getting worse every year,” Shoigu told Rossiya 1 when asked about the current state of Russia-NATO relations.
There was “very active cooperation” between Russia and the bloc just five years ago, but “now our partners, along with the US, of course, are withdrawing from most agreements. The security space is getting narrower and narrower,” he pointed out.
NATO is reluctant to work with Russia , even on an issue as pressing as countering terrorism in Syria, the minister said.
“We keep saying that we will do everything faster and more effectively together. But all we agree on is to avoid some kind of incident between our aviation and coalition aviation,” he said.
Russia’s new ambassador to the United Kingdom, Andrei Kelin, recently addressed the country’s ties with NATO, saying that the US-led military bloc has “a lot of inertia in its work… It follows the lines that were designated years behind.”
The Cold War ended decades ago, but somehow NATO “continues to work against us in a climate of confrontation,” he continued in an interview with RT.
“The confrontation is dangerous and more and more money is being allocated for the so-called defense, but in fact all of this is for the accumulation of armaments along our borders – this is not calm and this is bad for European security,” completed Kelin.
Meanwhile, increasing tensions between countries in the Arctic region could lead to armed conflict, but a large-scale conflict scenario is for the moment excluded, says Russian Northern Fleet commander.
The main factors for the destabilization of the Arctic region are US and some Western countries ‘ policies, said Vice Admiral and Commander of the Northern Fleet Aleksandr Moiseev, during a specialized forum held a few days ago in St. Petersburg.
“Under certain conditions, the aggravation of existing contradictions can lead to crisis situations and escalate into armed conflict … But in the short and medium term a large-scale war should not break out in this [Arctic] macroregion,” he said.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, since 2015 the number of NATO military operations and exercises in the region has doubled, pointing to the need for strengthening the Northern Fleet.