MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. The United States’ demands NATO countries should be spending more on defense in fact are aimed at making them purchase US military hardware to replace that of Russian manufacture still in service in the armies of many countries of the alliance, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told TASS in an interview.
"Apparently half of NATO’s armies still ride and fly Russian technologies," he said. "Clearly, under pressure from the United States, which demands they should increase military spending and use up to 20% of the defense budgets on purchasing US equipment, they will be scrapping those weapons."
Grushko added that in defiance of US pressures Russia’s military cooperation with some NATO countries was continuing. "Turkey has said that it will fulfill the contract for the S-400 air defense systems," he said. "Incidentally, S-300 and S-200 and other air defense systems remain in service in many countries. The United States continues to purchase our rocket engines. In the space industry we cooperate with many countries. There is a joint project with France for launching our missiles from the Kourou space site."
Grushko said that some countries were trying to politicize Russia’s cooperation with NATO members.
"We proceed from the understanding that pragmatic interests must prevail," he said. "If there is mutual interest, cooperation can go on. We have military-technical cooperation agreements with many countries."