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MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. NATO’s plans have never changed and have always been aimed at acquiring free geopolitical space, including in Eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian mass media on occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties.
"We have repeatedly realized that all these preparations, which are now being fulfilled, when NATO’s infrastructure is approaching our common borders, when new units are sent there, under the slogan of permanent rotation, what means permanent deployment in all practical senses. We understand very well that pretexts used to justify such steps are far-fetched," Lavrov said.
"If there had not been the coup d’etat in Ukraine, after which we were forced to defend those people who refused to obey neo-Nazi perpetrators of the coup, then something else would have been invented," he said.
"NATO’s plans have never changed and with different intensity degree have been aimed at greedily acquiring geopolitical space, which they considered as unclaimed after the collapse of the Soviet Union," Lavrov said
Regrettably, this strategy prevailed over those who after the collapse of the Soviet Union called not to strengthen NATO and deepen division lines in Europe, but to draw up a joint approach under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) or other universal organization, Lavrov said. "This approach should be based on ensuring equal and indivisible security for all countries of the North Atlantic region," he said.
The European politicians’ NATO-centric way of thinking cannot help build confidence and strengthen good-neighborly relations, he went on.
"When several years ago Russia proposed that an agreement be made that would enshrine the western politicians’ statements about the need to refrain from attempts to ensure one’s security by damaging the security of others, we were told that ‘this political slogan should remain a slogan, while only those who join NATO will receive legal security guarantees from the West’," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.
"The NATO-centric thinking is a bad thing," he said. "It does not help build confidence, strengthen good-neighborly relations and reduce tensions, though we continue to do everything we can to reach these goals, even in the current situation," Lavrov pointed out.
In this regard, Lavrov said that one year ago, the Russian leader had supported a proposal put forward by the Finnish president that additional air safety measures be drawn up for the Baltic region making all the aircraft, including warplanes, travel with their transponders on.
"Less than a year ago, last July, at a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council, we put forward some proposals that concerned not only the use of transponders, but also some additional measures aimed at ensuring transparency," Lavrov said. "However, NATO is still mulling over its response to our proposals. This is what you call a gap between words and deeds," the Russian foreign minister concluded.