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Diplomat warns NATO's 'Cold War' policy towards Moscow threatens European security

A Russian diplomat comments on the relations with NATO

MOSCOW, April 28. /TASS/. NATO is acting towards Russia based on the Cold War schemes, but Moscow will find a response to these risks and ensure its security, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an exclusive interview with TASS.

Touching on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement that Russian-NATO relations are neither the Cold War nor partnership, the high-ranking diplomat said: "The point is that in its relations with Russia NATO starts relying on the Cold War schemes and attempts to project force towards Russia, advances military infrastructure and deploys additional contingents close to our borders."

The diplomat warned that this seriously worsens regional and European security and creates additional risks for Russia. "NATO cannot but understand that we will find answers to these risks so that in any turn of events our legal interests [primarily the country’s defensive capacity] are effectively protected," Grushko, Russia’s former envoy to the alliance, stressed.

"We have all the necessary military and technical potential to do this convincingly and effectively, and to show NATO countries that their steps on the eastern flank are a waste of time and efforts," Grushko noted. "This does not enhance security of those countries which participate in this, but only creates an extra threat for them."

"If NATO is seriously interested in de-escalation and creating new tools for preventing a dangerous military activity, and also to avoid a misperception of what is happening and each other’s intentions, in the first place NATO should call for restoring normal military contacts, which should be systemic," the high-ranking diplomat and former Russian envoy to the alliance stressed.

Russia is not appointing its envoy to NATO as a result of the policy carried out by the alliance towards Moscow, he added. 

"This is also the result of policy which NATO has conducted towards Russia," the diplomat said.

Grushko served as Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO from October 2012 until January 2018. After his appointment as the deputy foreign minister the post of the Russian envoy to NATO has been vacant.

"It sounds rather paradoxical when, on the one hand, NATO declares Russian diplomatic staff reduction and simultaneously voices the wish to hold a new session of the Russia - NATO Council," the deputy foreign minister affirmed. "So, in this case NATO is just sawing off the branch it is sitting on." Grushko said that tools are needed to conduct dialogue, "and Russia’s permanent mission to NATO is the very tool to secure this dialogue."

He noted that Russian diplomats’ expulsion negatively affected the operation of Russian foreign missions. "A diplomatic profession is chiefly about communication," the diplomat continued. "It is they [diplomats] who should keep uninterrupted contact between foreign ministries and work with the parliament and public opinion. Cutting these ties is beneficial for those who want to live in an imaginary personally designed world."

"Without diplomats and constant political dialogue it would be very hard to both build real politics towards each other and strive for the harmonization of interests and implementation of common European projects," Grushko said.

NATO ministers of foreign affairs confirmed preparations for a Russia - NATO Council session and the intention to continue the Alliance’s dual-track policy on Russia - "deterrence and dialogue" - after a meeting in Brussels on Friday.