MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Owing to a bilateral treaty signed by Kiev and Moscow, Ukraine won’t be able to hold joint NATO drills in the Sea of Azov because this will require Russia’s consent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with RT France, Paris Match and Figaro on Thursday.
"Now Ukraine wants to hold NATO drills in the Sea of Azov but it will be impossible to go there because our treaty with Ukraine requires mutual consent for the passage of warships into the Sea of Azov," Russia’s top diplomat specified.
"But they want this and they are being actively goaded into this," Lavrov stressed.
NATO is already highly active near the Russian borders, the Russian foreign minister noted.
"[We are witnessing] an arms build-up on our borders along with the drive to upgrade the transport infrastructure in Europe so that it can be easier for US heavy armaments and, perhaps, the armaments of other NATO countries to choose our borders; [in addition to] blatantly provocative drills - not ours with China in Siberia - but military exercises in Ukraine, Georgia and in the Black Sea," Russia’s top diplomat emphasized.
Ukraine has been actively holding military drills with NATO on its soil since 2014. The Clean Sky-2018 aviation drills are running in the Khmelnitskaya Region in Ukraine from October 8-19 with the participation of the air forces from Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the United States.
Also, Kiev has been lately laying its claims to the Sea of Azov where military activity is regulated by an agreement with Russia. Exercises by the Ukrainian armed forces were held on the coast of the Sea of Azov in October.