MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. The United States does not intend to cancel its plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe, Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko said on the Rossiya 24 TV channel on Wednesday.
"Originally, the key point when deploying missile defense was protection from ‘the Iranian threat’," Grushko recalled.
"Now it all has been forgotten," he said. "Moreover, NATO spokespersons say now the project is not aimed against any country, but there are 19 states in the world that already have well-developed missile technologies, so NATO has to defend itself."
The Russian side believes that NATO must realize the severity of the consequences of its decision to reduce the number of personnel of Russia’s mission, Grushko went on to say.
"We are waiting for clarification," he said. "Anyway, NATO must realize that it’s always easier to break than to make. If NATO proceeds from this premise, for us this will mean that in the short term NATO is not planning to resume cooperation, even if the necessary political circumstances emerge."
"The only justification for reduction of the mission that sounds convincing is spy mania, statements that Brussels teems with spies. That’s why such statements are a purely ideological injection," Grushko said.
Russia has noticed a sharp increase in the number of NATO flights near Russian borders, Russia’s Ambassador to NATO noted.
"Today, we can see a sharp increase in the NATO activity. NATO should not be surprised that we are escorting and intercepting these planes to find out the purpose of their presence near the country’s borders," Grushko said.
Russia remains an in-demand partner for Europe in questions of strengthening security, he said.
"Despite NATO’s position of ‘principle’ on Russia, it remains a desirable and in-demand partner both in the Middle East settlement and the solution of problems linked to Iran’s nuclear programme. I believe that at some stage NATO will have to overcome its dichotomy," Grushko said.