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NATO returning to “Cold War” schemes — Russian diplomat

September 12, 2014, 16:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The US used the recent NATO summit in Wales to drive another wedge between Europe and Russia, Russia's Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko says

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Russia's Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko

Russia's Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko

© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Saverkin

MOSCOW, September 12. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO is returning to the “Cod War” schemes. This is the main conclusion which Russia should draw from the alliance’s recent summit in Wales, Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko said at a Moscow-Brussels video conference on Friday.

The NATO summit was held in Wales on 4-5 September 2014. This was the first NATO summit since Chicago in 2012 and the first NATO summit in the United Kingdom since 1990.

Gurshko said that many decisions had been passed in Wales and that Russia would need time to assess what impact they might have on Russian security interests. The Russian diplomat said that one of the goals which Washington pursued in Wales was to tie its European partners even closer and force them to increase their military spending.

“US contributions make up 75% of NATO budget. The United States has long been calling for the need to reduce that burden,” Grushko said, adding the US had used the recent summit “to drive another wedge between Europe and Russia.”

Grushko accused NATO of serious violations of its commitment not to deploy additional forces permanently that is fixed in the Russia-NATO Founding Act on Mutual Relations.

The Russian diplomat said that the alliance’s decision to build up its presence in the Black and Baltic Seas was a source of concern for Russia because it marked a shift in the regional balance of forces.

It is possible to convene a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council. The problem is that for the moment there are no topics for discussion, Grushko said. The diplomat explained that the Russia-NATO Council had been an instrument used to assess the security situation and outline areas for common actions.

“The Russia-NATO Council was important for supervising joint projects. But now after the NATO summit, I do not see any topic which we could discuss. If NATO is going to have what to discuss, we will study its proposal,” Grushko stressed.

NATO exploits Ukraine’s crisis to promote its own geopolitical interests, Grushko noted. “Evidently, results of the NATO summit will facilitate settlement of Ukraine’s crisis in no way,” the diplomat said, adding that the alliance's role in Ukraine was exceptionally destructive.

“NATO used Ukraine’s crisis to press its allies and make a geopolitical U-turn,” Grushko said, explaining that it would be hard to coax extra money for defense out of its allies or win consent to deployment of more troops.

Before developments in Ukraine, the alliance had been in a difficult situation and “got to thinking how to raise its profile in world affairs”, Grushko said.

Cooperation on Afghanistan

NATO’s disinclination to cooperate with Russia on Afghanistan is “shooting in one’s own leg,” Russian Permanent Representative at NATO Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

“Cooperation on Afghanistan was in common interests,” he told a videoconference Moscow-Brussels. “A key problem is the colossal drug flow from Afghanistan but NATO is seeking to avoid taking responsibility and the summit’s documents prove this point of view.”

Grushko cited the final document of the summit, which said that anti-drug efforts were the competence of the Afghan authorities. In this connection, he pointed to the great role of anti-drug projects within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, such as training drug policemen. “NATO’s withdrawing from these projects is like shooting in one’s own leg,” Grushko stressed, adding that the alliance had refused to cooperate with Russia on anti-terrorism and anti-piracy projects too. “NATO has not infringed upon our interests, it has infringed upon its own interests and the interests of regional security,” he said.

Grushko said he did not share NATO’s position that the shift in its course towards Russia had been triggered by Moscow’s deviation from partner relations. “This is not true,” he stressed.

Touching on the situation in Ukraine, the Russian ambassador put the blame for the crisis in that country on the West. “Ukraine has always been our closest partner but the entire blame for the Ukraine crisis rests on Western countries, which used Ukraine as a bargaining chip in their geopolitical games,” he noted.

Commenting on the NATO summit’s decision on fighting against extremist groups in the Middle East, Grushko said it was evident that the “organization is worried over the activity of these groups.” But NATO, in his words, “is useless in this situation” and this was a signal in itself - if NATO was not integrated into international anti-terrorism efforts, it would be moving further on to “the margins of the global process.” He said that “a comprehensive approach, involving all resources of the international community and strict obedience by the international law” was needed to fight against terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State. NATO could cooperate with Russia in this area if it had not severed interaction, he added.

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