MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Russia still has not received an official request from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) concerning a resumption of control over military activities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"If they [NATO] made an official request, we [Russia] would consider it," Lavrov said in an interview with three radio stations, Ekho Moskvy, Sputnik and Govorit Moskva. "There was no official request as of yet and the issue remains to be at the level of talks."
Russia and US-led NATO have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.
Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders on Europe.
Lavrov expressed concerns on Wednesday about the increase in NATO exercises near Russia’s borders and no change in US plans to deploy missile shield in Europe.
Speaking about the threats for Russia, Lavrov said: "The western direction is the US and NATO. There is little cheerful here. We used to have good mechanisms of cooperation with NATO: both in military and political issues, the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, training police personnel, including in Afghanistan. But all this was suspended, all of a sudden."
"All the formats of communication - summits, ministerial meetings and many meetings of experts - everything was broken off," Lavrov said in an interview with three radio stations, Ekho Moskvy, Sputnik and Govorit Moskva.
The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS
"There is only the NATO-Russia Council left at the level of ambassadors, and it convened just once during the year. That’s all," Lavrov said.
The minister noted the growing number of exercises conducted by NATO near the Russian borders and deployment of the US heavy equipment to the Baltic states and Eastern European countries, and the accelerated creation of missile defence facilities.
Lavrov reminded that US President Barack Obama said several years ago that the adaptive approach signaled the US readiness to adapt the plans on missile defence in case of success in resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute.
Despite the successful Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland’s Lausanne, the US plans are being adapted "but in the direction of an active creation of the missile shield," Lavrov said.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that the evident unwillingness of the US and NATO to take into consideration the positive tendencies in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue "confirms our conclusion that the missile defence shield being deployed in Europe is of an anti-Russian character."