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Deputy defense minister: No equal partnership, mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO

April 21, 2014, 21:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"They have all got fixated on one thing only: Moscow is threatening the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe," Anatoly Antonov explained NATO's striving for presence near Russia's border
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MOSCOW, April 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia could not build an equal partnership and mutually advantageous cooperation with NATO, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

“The Russia-NATO Council was created for ‘all-weather’ discussions that could be conducted even if relations between our countries deteriorated,” he told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview to be published on Tuesday, April 22. However, “what we encountered during the crisis in Ukraine showed that this forum is not working”, he added.

“The Ukrainian events proved that NATO needs us only when we carry out a policy that suits them. Unfortunately, we could not build an equal partnership and mutually advantageous cooperation with the alliance,” Antonov said.

“Brussels was engaged in the policy of containing Russia before, too, but was trying to do so under the guise of a good guy. Now we’ve got the impression that they have simply found a pretext for implementing far-reaching plans,” he said.

“They have all got fixated on one thing only: Moscow is threatening the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe. And NATO must respond immediately. As a result, the alliance is continuing to build up its military presence near the Russian border,” the deputy defense minister said.

“In the past they kept telling us about some training bases for soldiers and officers before they go to ‘trouble spots’. Now they are not even hiding the fact that these will be permanent NATO military formations. No matter what they call them — bases, contingents or formations — their essence will remain the same: military capabilities will appear near the Russian border,” Antonov said.

Commenting on NATO’s decision to terminate cooperation with Russia, he said Russia was interested in cooperation with the alliance just as much as the alliance itself was interested in it. “All successful cooperation projects NATO likes so much to talk about were implemented only because they were mutually advantageous,” the deputy minister noted.

Speaking about a possible resumption of cooperation, he said, “We will implement the projects which the alliance decides to continue and which benefit Russia. We had a rather successful joint experience of fighting pirates, and we had cooperated effectively in the field of military medicine, rescue operations and in fighting aerial terrorism. If NATO decides against doing this further, we will not regret it,” Antonov said.


Moral pressure on CSTO members

NATO is trying to exert moral pressure on certain member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in order to “drive a wedge” between Russia and its allies, Anatoly Antonov said.

“There is moral pressure and an attempt to convince people that ‘Russians are bad’ and therefore they should look up to European democracy. They are talking about some military-technical assistance, about sending advisers and increasing the number of joint exercises. NATO has only one task to pursue — to drive a wedge between Russia and its allies, to tear us away from each other,” Antonov added.

He said Ukraine is a place where the West is trying to “advance democracy” or stage a so-called “color revolution”. The events in Ukraine “are no different from the Arab Spring but taken to the post-Soviet region”, he added.

“I think that the threat of ‘color revolutions’ and their negative political and economic impact on regional and global security have largely been underestimated,” Antonov said.

He believes this issue requires more attention in order to determine the root-causes of this phenomenon and counter it. “Figuratively speaking, it is necessary to remove the wood from the fire on which big-time politics is being cooked by Western recipes. We should not wait for the pot lid to go up in the air and a new crisis to break out with someone trying to direct it this way or another depending on concrete goals. We know what these goals are like and whom they benefit from the previous ‘color revolutions’,” the deputy minister said.

In his opinion, Russia needs to address this issue together with other countries, including States Parties of the CSTO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. “They are also interested in keeping this ‘plague’ away. This issue will most likely be one of the central topics during our chairmanship in the SCO in 2015,” he said.

About CSTO
The CSTO is a military-political alliance of seven countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It was created on the basis of the Collective Security Treaty of the May 15, 1992, which was turned into an international organization on May 14, 2002. The CSTO received the status of observer at the U.N. General Assembly on December 2, 2004.
The purpose of the CSTO is to guarantee the national security of each of its members and to ensure their territorial integrity. In case of a menace, looming over any member-country, all the other CSTO participants will be duty-bound to give it all the necessary aid, including military assistance.
On October 7, 2002, the Presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, signed a charter in Tashkent, founding the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Nikolai Bordyuzha was appointed secretary general of the new organization. On June 23, 2006, Uzbekistan became a full participant in the CSTO and its membership was formally ratified by its parliament on March 28, 2008. The CSTO is an observer organization at the United Nations General Assembly.
The charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states, while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all. To this end, the CSTO holds yearly military command exercises for the CSTO nations to have an opportunity to improve inter-organisation cooperation.

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