MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that he hopes NATO will be wise enough to prevent a large-scale war. However, the risk of unintended incidents has swelled without normal dialogue with Russia, he stressed.
"I believe everyone will be wise enough to prevent that. However, we are certainly very much concerned about the total absence of any professional dialogue between the Russian military and NATO," he said in an interview with RT France, Paris Match and Le Figaro, when asked whether NATO drills in Europe pose a threat of a third world war.
The minister recalled that members of the NATO-Russia Council had met three times over the past two years without any results. According to Russia’s top diplomat, NATO’s representatives were only prepared to discuss Ukraine.
"I am trying to be within the bounds of decency," Lavrov stressed. He went on to say that this just means one thing, "attempts were made to use the NATO-Russia Council as another tool to blame all mortal sins on us, and another way of satisfying the whims of our Ukrainian neighbors who dream of sanctions being endlessly perpetuated and want nothing more than Russia to always be subject to intense criticism," the diplomat specified.
Lavrov noted that almost all forms of cooperation between Russia and NATO had been frozen, and mere telephone contacts between Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Curtis Scaparrotti were not enough to eliminate the growing risks of unintended incidents.
"This is not what is required in the current situation when the risk of some unintended incidents significantly increases. A Spanish fighter recently accidentally fired an air-to-air missile in Estonia," he said. "Thank God, it didn’t kill anyone."
"What if it fell on our soil rather than in Estonia?" the minister asked." After all, it was very close."
According to Lavrov, NATO’s refusal to carry on dialogue with Moscow stems from Washington’s influence, which banned the Pentagon’s contacts with Russia as part of its sanctions laws. "It is clear that no one in NATO does anything without the US," he stressed. "So, look at this situation. I believe it is absurd to remain hostage to US legislators’ whims."
"After all, they [the Americans] did find a way of working with us in Syria and continue to do so on the so-call de-confliction to prevent any clashes there," the top Russian diplomat explained.
The next NATO exercise dubbed Trident Juncture will be held in Northern Europe from October 25 to November 7. Around 50,000 troops from 31 countries (29 NATO members, along with Finland and Sweden), over 100 aircraft and dozens of ships will take part in the drills. A US carrier air group, which has arrived in Norway, for the first time since 1989, will also participate in them.