MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. NATO’s attempts to turn the Black Sea into an arena of confrontation are extremely dangerous, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Friday.
"Now they have turned to the Black Sea region, we are observing activity on the territory of Bulgaria and Romania. They have already turned the Baltic Sea into an arena of military rivalry, and they are now intending to turn the Black Sea into an arena of military confrontation. This is an extremely dangerous path fraught with the risk of military incidents and escalation," he said.
"I would like to emphasize that in 2014, a decision was made to cease any practical cooperation with Russia and contacts along the military track were interrupted. When NATO tells us that it is necessary to improve the preventive mechanisms of dangerous military incidents and we are saying that we are ready to discuss the maximum acceptable distances of approach between a warship and an aircraft, they don’t let us include the military [in the discussion]," the senior diplomat added.
The deputy foreign minister noted that the Russian Federation at this stage is not ready to enter political dialogue while "the military is quite capable of reaching agreements." "I am not even talking about the fact that some measures that we developed with regards to the Baltic region, were developed thanks to a very depoliticized approach, thanks to the initiative of Finnish President [Sauli] Niinisto, the participation of neutral Sweden, the participation of Baltic states, experts, the civilian employees of the military. Thanks to them, measures were developed that maybe slightly improved the situation. We were ready to proceed further but NATO was not ready," the senior diplomat concluded.