MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. The US-led West got engaged in NATO expansion after the breakup of the USSR instead of strengthening security in the Euro-Atlantic region through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"Americans want to have strong influence in Europe — this is a fact, which goes along with a fact that they have NATO as the strongest instrument for this," Lavrov said in an interview with the TV Channel Zvezda.
"After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Treaty, the alliance was first in a euphoric state and then started to search for the essence of its further existence," the Russian foreign minister said.
"Clever politicians were saying seriously at that period that the Warsaw Treaty and the Soviet Union no longer existed, democracy had won and they [Russians] had joined the Council of Europe and made their doors wide open and so these politicians proposed strengthening significantly the OSCE, which integrated all players, and establishing a powerful military and political universal mechanism in the Euro-Atlantic region to ensure the security of each other from external threats," Lavrov said.
"At that time, there were not yet such global challenges as terrorism and the drug threat," the Russian foreign minister said.
"But we began to feel the militants’ first extremist acts already in Chechnya. But they decided differently and said: let the OSCE be a loosely structured organization without a charter or special rules and it should not beef up its muscles much because it will be able to compete then," Lavrov said.
"They have created lots of institutions, like the ODIHR [the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights], which has no statutory documents, like the OSCE," the Russian foreign minister said.
"They have established the office for national minorities and are trying more or less to do something there, although the situation with citizenship in the Baltic states has not changed in this regard but no one criticizes them any specially for this," Lavrov said.
According to the Russian foreign minister, the post of a representative for the freedom of the media has been established. "Now this post is held by a woman who turns aside when something really outrageous is occurring with journalists in the West or even in Ukraine and is ‘nit-picking’ in every possible way in our media space," the Russian foreign minister said.
‘NATO has not been only preserved. They have started to move it to the East," Lavrov said.