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Lavrov: There are no threats in Baltic region that would justify its militarization

June 06, 14:53 UTC+3
According to the diplomat, Russia negatively assesses NATO’s course on involving other countries in NATO military activities
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NATO drills in Poland

NATO drills in Poland

© AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

MOSCOW, June 6. /TASS/. There are no threats that would justify the militarization of the Baltic Sea region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday following meeting with his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini.

"We are convinced that there are no threats in this region that would justify its militarization," the minister said.

He also noted that the Russian side had shared its concerns over increased NATO activity in the region and the movement of the alliance’s infrastructure towards Russia’s borders. "We are convinced that all issues of cooperation in the Baltic Sea area and in the north in general should be solved within the framework of the multilateral formats that have already been created," Lavrov added.

According to the diplomat, Russia negatively assesses NATO’s course on involving other countries in the military activities of the Alliance.

‘We have confirmed our position that every country is sovereign to choose the policy of ensuring security that it deems necessary," he said.

"We do not hide our negative attitude toward NATO’s course on moving military infrastructure closer to our borders," Lavrov said. "Here Russia’s sovereign rights comes into force to ensure security by measures that are appropriate for current risks," he added.

"I am confident that our Finnish friends and neighbors understand this as well," Lavrov concluded.

International maritime drills BALTOPS-2016 have started today in Finland’s south.

Russia does not have plans to attack NATO countries

The diplomat stressed that Russia has never planned and does not plan to attack any NATO member country.

"I am confident that serious and honest politicians know that Russia will never attack any member country of the North Atlantic Alliance," Lavrov said. "We do not have any plans like this. I think NATO knows it very well but just uses the pretext to deploy more equipment and battalions, first of all as a guarantee that the United States will still keep an eye on this ‘field’," he added.

Russia will react to NATO’s actions by measures it deems appropriate

The minister stressed that Russia reserves its sovereign right to react to NATO’s actions how it deems possible.

"We do not hide our negative attitude toward NATO’s course on moving military infrastructure closer to our borders," Lavrov said. "Here Russia’s sovereign rights comes into force to ensure security by measures that are appropriate for current risks," he added.

According to the Russian top diplomat, Moscow sees threats not in the very existence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but in the alliance’s practices.

"One of the main threats to Russia’s security is in NATO’s further eastward expansion and the alliance’s policy of using military force in violation of international law, the way it happened in Libya and Yugoslavia," Lavrov said.

"We see threats not in the existence of NATO but in the way that military alliance acts in practice," Lavrov said.

NATO used Ukraine conflict to find new reason to justify its existence

According to the minister, the North Atlantic Alliance has used the situation in Ukraine to invent a new reason for justifying its existence.

"Now serious analysts have no doubts that NATO has used the reason provided by the coup d’etat in Ukraine and our reaction towards attempts to discriminate Russians in Ukraine to invent a new meaning of the alliance’s existence," Lavrov said.

Lavrov said earlier the Soviet Union was the reason for NATO’s existence. "However, the alliance did not disband when the Soviet Union disappeared," the Russian foreign minister said.

"A new pretext was needed, a kind of a new mission as the United States was not planning at all to let Europeans float freely in the security issues," he said.

"Then Afghanistan came up as a new uniting threat," he reminded. "NATO’s mission was there for more than 10 years and fought against terrorism, but in my opinion, the fight ended in a reverse result," Lavrov said.

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