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Russia’s relations with NATO to be more confrontational than with US, expert says

According to the expert of the international discussion club Valdai, Dmitry Suslov, the Russian-US interaction still leaves room for a positive agenda and some elements of cooperation

MOSCOW, April 4. /TASS/. Russia and NATO will get into a more confrontational relationship than that between Moscow and Washington, since Russia has no areas for cooperation with the alliance, the deputy director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at Russia’s National Research University Higher School of Economics, expert of the international discussion club Valdai, Dmitry Suslov, told TASS on Saturday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after a two-day meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers that Russia allegedly "undermines and destabilizes its neighbors," "continues its wide-ranging military build-up" and oppresses political dissent. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russia would take additional measures to ensure national security in response to NATO’s potential military buildup around Ukraine.

"I think that Russia-NATO relations will be more confrontational and negative than the Russian-US ones. The Russian-US interaction still leaves room for a positive agenda and some elements of cooperation, albeit minimal, like arms control, the Arctic, the climate and some other areas. And Russia reiterates that it is poised to collaborate with the United States on these issues," Suslov said.

"As for NATO, there is no positive agenda, but the confrontational one prevails," Suslov said. "Meanwhile, NATO lays the foundation for anti-Russian consolidation in the Atlantic, and that latest summit of the North Atlantic Alliance was an evident proof of that."

The expert emphasized that the alliance’s military drills were distinctively anti-Russian. Furthermore, Suslov pointed out that the NATO-Russia Council, which is the key mechanism of contacts between the two sides, had been paralyzed. It happens as Russia advocates transforming the Council into a communication channel between the militaries to avoid military incidents, but NATO pushes for political issues to be brought up on that platform and uses it to bash Moscow, the expert indicated.

Suslov told TASS that the relations between Russia and NATO would be aggravating. He stated that since 2014 NATO had transitioned from strategic to tactical deterrence of Russia and was working on detailed scenarios of potential armed confrontation.

"There is no threat of a deliberate war between Russia and NATO. After all, nuclear deterrence continues working, so there is no desire to unleash a war to inflict damage. However, there is still a threat of unintentional conflict, which is still growing," Suslov concluded. "It is intensified first and foremost in cyberspace, where both NATO and the United States dodge from concrete work on cybersecurity and on drawing up rules of the game. Armed confrontation might occur over a dangerous incident, as warships and aircraft are continuing the dangerous practice of approaching one another at sea and in the air.".