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Moscow sees no sense in modernising arms control deal due to NATO military activity

February 05, 10:37 UTC+3
The meeting of Russia-NATO Council at the level of envoys may be held soon
1 pages in this article
US military drills in Lithuania, September 2015

US military drills in Lithuania, September 2015

© AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis

MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Russia does not see sense in modernising the Vienna document on the arms control due to the anti-Russian direction of the NATO drills and due to the curbed military contacts between NATO and Russia, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Friday.

"We consider as senseless additional responsibilities in the arms control - on the background of the anti-Russian direction of the NATO training, curbing of the military contacts between NATO and Russia - modernisation of the Vienna document is senseless," he said.

The deputy defense minister said in 2015 Russia received all inspection groups under the Vienna document. "Respectively, Russian specialists inspected the military facilities in Europe," he said.

The Russian military authority organizes most openly the military training events, he continued.

"We, for example, inform OSCE on unplanned inspections, which is outside the Vienna document, on big drills, we organize briefings for military attaches on military training events. We have organized a briefing in Vienna, which was devoted to a new Russian military doctrine in the framework of the Security Dialogue."

The Russian Defense Ministry says if the dialogue on the arms control in Europe resumes, the control mechanism should be different from the one used under CFE (Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe).

"Nowadays, conventional arms may be compared in potential with nuclear arms, the list of "strategic" system is expanding - there is no limiting to calculating cannons and tanks," the deputy minister said.

NATO’s invitations to Russian defense ministry to talk on the phone to be used for accusing Russia 

The official noted that NATO’s representatives have been inviting the Russian Defense Ministry to "talk on the phone" with the purpose to accuse Russia of the crisis between Moscow and Brussels.

"We suppose, the calls "to talk on the phone" are made in order to put responsibility for the crisis in our relations exclusively on the Russian side," he said.

As an example, he mentioned the recent criticism from Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, who claimed several days earlier that Russia was not ready to restore contacts with the Alliance.

The deputy minister said Pavel wanted to talk to head of the Russian Staff General Valery Gerasimov. "The main topic of the conversation was named "necessary check of the operational communication channels," as well as suggested discussion items related to military activities on both sides of the borders, to settlement of incidents between the Russian and NATO military, to the military situation in Ukraine, fulfilment of the Minsk accords and to OSCE’s activities in Ukraine."

Meanwhile, the deputy minister said, "all necessary technical options for supporting contacts between the military authorities of NATO and Russia have been well in place, used and never interrupted."

"In Moscow, for quite a time has been the NATO communication mission, and our officers have been working in Brussels," he said. "Our position is that for checking these communication channels we have enough contacts at the level of specialists."

The other topics suggested by NATO are not authority of the Russian Defense Ministry, he said.

"A conversation for the sake of conversation is not interesting to us," the deputy defense minister said.

Russia-NATO Council 

According to the official, the meeting of Russia-NATO Council at the level of envoys may be held soon.

"What is planned for the nearest future is to hold a meeting of Russia-NATO Council coordinated by the foreign ministry. I think it will be held," Antonov said adding that it will be held at the level of envoys.

"We are interested in military cooperation with the NATO countries as much as the counterparts from the alliance," he said. "We are not ready to cooperate only in the issues, where are of interests for the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance."

"In future communications with NATO we shall not leave unnoticed the negative impact from the bloc’s activities on possibilities of supporting the global and regional security."

"We mean deployment in Europe, the Asia-Pacific Region and in the Middle East of the US antimissile defense components, practical implementation of the ‘global strike’, deployment of the non-nuclear high precision strategic systems, as well as future deployment of weapons in the space.".

The Russian Defense Ministry hopes that the meeting of Russia-NATO Council "will at least serve as a signal for our colleagues to give thought to the future of our relations," he noted.

There are currently no contacts between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance, Antonov said adding that there are "no practical activities, and no joint events with Brussels are held." "There is no thaw in relations between us and NATO," he added.

The deputy defense minister reminded that Russia’s representation in NATO headquarters in Brussels has been significantly cut. "If they wanted to develop relations, they would not have reduced the number of our diplomats, including military," Antonov concluded.

European military officials seek to restore cooperation with Russia

Antonov also noted that military officials of some Western European countries try to restore cooperation with their Russian counterparts.

"Just over the past two months, we have received several high-ranking delegations in Moscow. At talks with them we discussed the prospects of resuming military contacts. We do not avoid such work, on the contrary, we welcome it," Antonov said.

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