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NATO cannot be sole guarantor of freedom and security — Russian deputy defense minister

March 05, 2015, 11:36 UTC+3

The West is attempting to punish Russia for refusal to play under its rules, Anatoly Antonov told a news conference

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© AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. NATO cannot be the sole guarantor of security in the modern world, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on Thursday.

"Today, NATO should not be the sole guarantor of freedom and security in the world," Antonov told a press conference in TASS.

Some countries now are trying to impose their policy and position on others, the minister said. "Latest events showed how imperfect the world is. The events of 2014 made us take a fresh look at the world," Antonov added.

Some Western countries, including the United States, are attempting to punish Russia for refusing to play by their rules, deputy defense minister went on to say.

"Some countries and even associations, such as the European Union, venture to define who and how should behave themselves on the international arena. If anyone voices another stance, which is different from that of Washington, Brussels and Ottawa, then they try to punish this country," Antonov said.

"This is what is happening in regard to Russia today," the official said.

Antonov also noted that there is "the lack of confidence" between the countries now.

"Without confidence it will be difficult to repair the international security system which has been seriously undermined by the actions of the United States and its allies on the international arena," Antonov said.

Potential of Russia-US relations not exhausted

The potential of Russian-US relations is not exhausted, despite the current difficulties, Russian Deputy Defense Minister said.

"Over my entire diplomatic career I cannot remember when Russian-American relations had been so difficult," Antonov said.

The deputy minister said that "the strategic arms reduction treaty is implemented successfully." "We continue to fulfil our obligations. All the inspection procedures pass normally. We have regular communication," he said.

"This testifies to the fact that the potential of Russian-American relations is not exhausted yet," Antonov added.

Ukrainian crisis a threat to European security

The security in Europe is being affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.

"Of course, the security on the European continent is hurt due to what is happening in Ukraine," Antonov told a new conference.

Speaking on the ways of strengthening the European security, Antonov said Russia is in touch with its European partners and may discuss this issue at the security conference due to be held in Moscow in mid-April.

"I am very glad that even after the crisis, we have preserved the mechanisms of a dialogue. The mechanisms are in force in Vienna. It is important that we keep the dialogue," he said.

The Ukrainian conflict, which has already killed more than 6,000 people, is the worst standoff in Europe since the end of the cold war. The ways out of the crisis were outlined in the February 12 Minsk agreements.

The accords reached by the Normandy Four leaders in the Belarusian capital included ceasefire from February 15, the pullback of heavy armaments, and a constitutional reform that would take into account the legitimate rights of the Donbas population.

Moscow invites NATO members to a security conference

Russia’s Defense Ministry has invited all NATO member states and NATO leadership to attend a security conference that will be held in Moscow in mid-April, the minister told the press conference.

"We have invited all NATO member states, including the alliance’s leadership," Antonov said.

Some countries have confirmed their participation in the security conference in Moscow, however the names of the participants would be known later, he added.

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