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NATO needs Russia to withstand present-day global challenges — Russian diplomat

November 05, 2014, 8:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO, Russia has never refused cooperastion with the western military bloc

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© AP Photo/Gero Breloer

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. NATO can hardly withstand present-day global challenges without Russia’s assistance, but the ball is on the side of the Western military alliance, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s permanent envoy to NATO, said.

According to Grushko, Russia never refused cooperation with the western military bloc.

“We did not make a decision to suspend projects on practical cooperation within the frames of Russia-NATO Council,” Grushko said in an interview with Russia’s Kommersant business daily.

Grushko said that Moscow “has always had a firm stance that true cooperation is possible only on an equal and mutually respected basis.”

“Considering all this, we directly stated our resentment of NATO’s expansion policy and the movement of its military infrastructure up to the Russian borders, as well as our non-admission of ignorance of international law norms.”

“By cutting off cooperation with Russia, the alliance weakens the potential of international efforts in the fight against terrorism, piracy, the Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferation, drugs trafficking and regional instability,” he said. “Therefore, the ball is on the alliance’s side.”

According to Grushko, “it will be hardly possible to withstand challenges alone, no matter how powerful the alliance might look like in the eyes of its member states.”

“It is obvious that such developments are not providing for true interests concerning the strengthening of the common European security on the collective basis,” Grushko said.

In early August, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was the secretary general of NATO at that time, said that the Western military alliance terminated cooperation with Russia, was set to strengthen collective defense of the military alliance’s member states and would expand its level of cooperation with Ukraine.

Last week, Rasmussen, whose office term in charge of NATO expired on November 1, said that Moscow wanted to establish a zone of Russian influence near western borders and supported “frozen conflicts” to this aim.

In particular, Rasmussen said, Russia backs the frozen conflicts in Moldova, Georgia’s breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as well as in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine.

The NATO chief said the military alliance would never agree to the emergence of a new frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine, urging the member-states to make every effort to ensure the peaceful solution of the Ukrainian crisis.

Rasmussen said Russia should hold a dialogue with NATO if it chooses this way itself. He also said Moscow poses no threat to NATO.

Grushko, however, already said in mid-October that the North Atlantic alliance exploited the Ukrainian crisis to promote its own geopolitical interests, adding that NATO’s role in Ukraine was exceptionally destructive.

According to the UN, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.

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