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Lavrov labels as ‘instigating’ NATO’s invitation to Ukraine, Georgia

The Russian foreign minister stresses NATO seeks to involve in its ranks more and more countries in order to separate them from Russia
Georgian soldiers at the opening ceremony of NATO military exercises AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov
Georgian soldiers at the opening ceremony of NATO military exercises
© AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov

DVORIKI VILLAGE (Vladimir Region), July 22. /TASS/. NATO wants to involve an ever larger number of countries in its ranks and tear them away from Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

"They have rejected our proposal to ensure indivisible security: security can’t be ensured at the expense of others," the Russian foreign minister told the youth forum titled: "Territory of Meanings on the Klyazma."

"Instead of this, they want to involve ever more countries in NATO and tear them away from Russia," Lavrov added.

"NATO’s Bucharest summit in 2008 made a decision after long disputes on whether to send an official invitation to Georgia and Ukraine so that they could begin the program of joining the alliance," the Russian foreign minister said.

"No formal, legally binding decision was made but it was compensated by a political phrase in the final document to the effect that NATO members were sure that Georgia and Ukraine would be in NATO. All this took place in April 2008 and already in August [then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili] lost his head over this promise as he ordered to start shelling Tskhinval [the capital of South Ossetia], Russian and Ossetian peacekeepers," Lavrov said.

"NATO’s instigating phrase that Tbilisi would be in NATO played its role in this. I have no doubts about this," the Russian foreign minister said.

"This also got into the mind of not quite responsible Ukrainian politicians and now it has burst out," Lavrov said.

It can be recalled "what NATO said when Maidan [protests in downtown Kiev in early 2014] started… [Then-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh] Rasmussen demanded from [then-Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych that he must not use the army against his own people, against demonstrators on Maidan. But he [Yanukovych] didn’t use the army and there were only the police and Berkut special units. Besides, they were attacked more frequently than they tried to bring order," the Russian foreign minister said.

"However, when the new Ukrainian authorities announced an anti-terror operation, NATO urged ‘to use force proportionally to restore order.’ Do you feel the difference?" Lavrov said.

At the same time, the Russian foreign minister noted that Rasmussen was now working as an adviser to Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and urged in one of his speeches that Ukraine should carry out economic reforms and intensify the fight against corruption and in this case it would succeed in convincing Western countries in the need to extend sanctions against Russia.

"This is the mentality of the people and you can’t already do anything with that," Lavrov said.

"It is necessary to work with those who yield to normal human education," the Russian foreign minister said.