BRUSSELS, February 28, (ITAR-TASS). NATO has no and should not have any role in efforts to settle the crisis in Ukraine, Alexander Grushko, Russia's Permanent Representative at NATO, told Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview here at the close of a meeting of the Defence ministers of 28 NATO member-states and a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
"First of all, we paid attention to the fact that the theme of Ukraine in a series of NATO sessions here was one of central ones," he emphasized.
"The results of the meetings held in Brussels convince one that NATO has no and should not have any role in settling the crisis in Ukraine. Any attempt (by the Alliance) to raise its profile, or, moreover, intervene will only bring about additional strain and heat up the situation. Particularly inappropriate in this context are allusions to the decisions of the Bucharest summit of 2008 (including a probable prospect of NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine note by Itar-Tass correspondent), and the 'freedom of choice' slogans that ignore the constitutional provisions about the non-bloc status of Ukraine," Russia's Permanent Representative stressed.
"The appeals, addressed to Russia, to show restraint and refrain from actions which could destabilize the situation looked strange among numerous commentaries on the development of the situation in Ukraine and in individual parts of it. Is it that Brussels-based analysts do not understand the primary reasons that prompted the people in the Crimea to close ranks in the effort to uphold their rignts in the face of the nationalist threat? Unfounded are also speculations by some commentators about Russia's military exercises. We voluntarily provided information on a regular inspection of the operational readiness of the units of Central and Western Military Districts, as well as on routine activities of the units of the Black Sea Fleet fully in accordance with the bilateral Russia-Ukraine agreement," the ranking diplomat added.
"Of course, we took note of the NATO Council's statement which contains a lot of provisions on the importance of the political process in the interests of all the Ukrainian people, and on the need to observe the supremacy of law and human rights. But, however hard we listened to the remarks made, none of participants in the Brussels sessions uttered words censuring the actions of the radical elements, the unceasing pressure on and intimidation of members of the opposition parties and journalists, the onslaught on the Russian language, interference in the affairs of the Church, and desecration of Orthodox temples and memorials. We also expected that Western representatives would support the agreement, dated February 21, which is undersigned by the Foreign ministers of three leading NATO member-countries. Unfortunately, nothing of the kind happened," Grushko said in conclusion.