MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. There has been no progress in Russia-NATO relations, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Thursday.
"If we speak seriously and look at the facts, then we will see that there has been no progress," he said. "In particular, there has been no progress in restoring cooperation in solving common security issues."
The Russian diplomat pointed out that despite the ongoing political dialogue on regional matters and issues related to military activities, some decisions made at NATO’s Warsaw summit had been implemented in 2017.
"NATO is deploying additional forces to its eastern flank. There will be another four battalion groups and two US brigades, besides, depots are being set up to store military equipment enough to deploy one more brigade. They have also been stepping up their activities in the Black Sea area and in the Baltic Sea area. We have been witnessing new kinds of military activities," Grushko elaborated.
The Russian permanent representative also said that further steps aimed at preventing dangerous military incidents would only be possible if experts joined in the work. According to Grushko, "without involving the military, it’s not going to work", there is the need to set up communications channels between the militaries.
Russia and NATO should find an opportunity to resume dialogue between military experts, Grushko said.
"There is an increasing awareness that if we tackle specific issues to prevent dangerous military incidents, it means that we have reached the level when we can only move forward if experts join in the work," the Russian diplomat said. "These issues are exceptionally difficult, there are many technical details so it is not going to work without military experts."
"This is what we have been trying to explain to NATO," Grushko added. "We will see how they respond but I think that most of them are inclined to agree that Russia and NATO should find an opportunity to resume military dialogue."
Grushko is sure NATO representatives will participate in the Moscow Security Conference scheduled to be held on April 26-27.
"Of course, they will come, I have no doubt about that," the Russian diplomat said when asked about NATO’s possible participation. "Hundreds of those invited, including representatives of NATO countries, have already confirmed their participation."
"I have read reports saying that the head of the NATO Military Liaison Mission Moscow will represent the Alliance," Grushko added.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Alexander Fomin said earlier that defense ministers from over 20 countries had confirmed their participation in the Sixth Moscow Conference on Global Security scheduled to be held on April 26-27.
High-ranking members of some international organizations plan to address the conference. Secretary Generals of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Deputy Secretary Generals of the United Nations and the Arab League, as well as the Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have also confirmed their participation.