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NATO hardliners gain upper hand, push for strong measures against Russia

April 09, 2014, 21:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“We will not allow NATO’s military challenges to turn into a threat to the military security of our country,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov says

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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Mashkov

MOSCOW, April 09. /ITAR-TASS/. The results of the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on April 1-2 show that hardliners have gained the upper hand in pushing for strong measures to contain Russia and portray it as an enemy and long-term foe, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

“We came across external confrontation over Ukraine. Sanctions have been imposed against us, and we have been threatened with penalties. Military cooperation with NATO and its individual states has been curtailed. Access to alliance’s headquarters has even been restricted for our diplomats,” Antonov said at the conference “Modern Aspects of International Security” held at the MGIMO Institute of International Relations on Wednesday, April 9.

“Some NATO officials do not hide the fact that while not objecting to cooperation with Russia they pursued one goal only - to make our country act in the international arena the way the North Atlantic Alliance needed. We can also hear Brussels calling for revising the set of earlier agreements on Russian-NATO cooperation,” the deputy minister said.

“We have noted the plans of some NATO countries to deploy large NATO military capabilities on their territories near the Russian border, which runs counter to the agreements with NATO. New aircraft are appearing and NATO exercises are taking place more often. The Ukrainian events have highlighted NATO’s growing attention to the post-Soviet region. NATO has stepped up contacts with not only Ukraine but also Moldova and Georgia,” Antonov said.

“These are not new schemes. We can see what NATO is doing in Ukraine to prevent normalisation of relations with us,” he added.

“As for the ‘freezing’ of military cooperation between NATO countries and us, I want to say that we take this step calmly. We are interested in this cooperation with the alliance just as much as our colleagues are. At this point we have responded appropriately to the alliance’s unfriendly policy towards us by recalling our military representative for consultations. We are analysing the military component of cooperation with NATO. And we will be closely watching changes in the nuclear and anti-missile policy of the alliance,” Antonov said.

“We will not allow NATO’s military challenges to turn into a threat to the military security of our country. We will act carefully, without emotions that are overfilling NATO’s actions with regard to Russia,” he said.

Antonov stressed that attempts to implement “colour revolutions” projects near the Russian borders in neigbouring countries were directed against Russia. “Serious changes are taking place in global politics. We can see a new balance of power and changes in the nature of security threats and challenges. The forms and methods of dealing with them are also changing. A new phenomenon of international life is ‘colour revolutions’ which have negative military, political and economic consequences in different parts of the world,” the deputy minister said.

“The West considers ‘colour revolutions’ a means of spreading democracy, but in essence they are a method of removing an unwanted government by force,” he said, adding that this issue had recently been raised at a meeting of the defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Tajikistan.

“I think we all should pay more attention to this phenomenon as it holds no promise for the neighbouring countries and Russia. We will talk about ‘color revolutions’ at the Moscow conference on internationals security to be held on May 23-24. We will be glad to take part in this discussion through non-governmental and academic institutions,” Antonov said.

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