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Judging by certain statements at Munich Conference, "cold war" is still not over — Lavrov

NATO is still not ready to resume military cooperation with Russia, and this is regretful, Russia's Foreign Minister said

MUNICH, February 18. /TASS/. NATO's expanding has caused the unprecedented in recent 30 years level of tension in Europe, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

"Judging by certain statements at the Munich Conference, the cold war is still not over," the minister said.

NATO is still not ready to resume military cooperation with Russia, and this is regretful, Lavrov said.

"Military cooperation should be resumed, (however) NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg surrounded by his deputies yesterday could not say NATO is ready for it," Lavrov said. "This is regretful."

The unipolar world system cannot be long-term, and the global leaders should make choices in favor of more fair world order, Lavrov said.

"We do not agree categorically with those, who accuse Russia and new centers of global influence of attempts to undermine the so-called liberal world order," he said. "Crisis of this model of the world was programmed even when the concept of economic and political globalization was invented mostly as an instrument to provide growth of the elite club of countries and its dominating all the others."

West is capable of overcoming artificial confrontation with Russia, should it want to, he added.

"We'll see how will proceed our dialogue with the European Union, and with NATO," he said. "Our position is confident and is based on honest provisions which we are sharing with our counterparts."

Russia does not rejoice over the anti-Russian policy of the European Union, as Moscow expects common sense to prevail, Lavrov said.

"We cannot be delighted that the European Union does not find enough strength to refuse from forming its policy towards Russia basing on a principle of the smallest denominator when the member countries’ fundamental pragmatic interests are sacrificed to Russsophobic speculation on the principle of solidarity," Lavrov said.

"We expect common sense to prevail," he added.

Experts from Russia and NATO may have a meeting on use of transponders in March, Lavrov said.

"Our military have brought detailed suggestions (on transponders and aviation security above the Baltic - TASS) back in July, 2016 to the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council," he said. "We expected those detailed suggestions would receive a feedback immediately - experts would sit and agree maps to raise the security."
"This did not happen, and till now we cannot begin this work," he continued. "Yesterday, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told me there is hope the experts will meet up in March."
"Well, it's quite a time, of course, but anyway, our conscience is clear," he added.

Russia, West agree settlement in Ukraine should be achieved in direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk, Lugansk, he said.

Kiev should begin the process of implementing the Minsk agreements, Lavrov said.

There is no alternative to this, he added.

Russia data show the scale of destruction east of the engagement line in Ukraine is much more than to the west of it, Lavrov said.

Beginning of direct consultations between Kiev and Donetsk, Lugansk not connected to completed weapons withdrawal, Lavrov said.

"The first item of the Minsk agreements is withdrawal of heavy weapons," the minister said. "The text reads that on the 30th day the withdrawal begins, and it began in April 2014, Kiev's authorities draft a bill on elections and begin discussing it with Donetsk and Lugansk."
"The withdrawal has begun, and beginning of consultations did not depend on completed withdrawal," he said.

Kiev's restoration of control over border with Russia possible only as Minsk-2 is observed, which is not in place yet, he added.

"Our common objective is to have complete fulfillment of the Minsk agreements," the minister said. "And only after that it is possible to restore the government's full control over the border with Russia; as yet we do not observe it (fulfillment)."

Lavrov hopes, Europe sends signals to Kiev Minsk 2 should be observed, despite the public rhetoric.

The realistic reasons why the Minsk agreements are failing are well known in Paris, in Berlin and in Washington, he said. "I hope very much that, if not publically, then during direct contacts with the Ukrainian authorities  the necessary signals are being sent."

Lavrov said that potential of relations between Russia, US is huge, it should be used.

"What relations are we expecting with the US? The relations of pragmatism, mutual respect, and responsibility for global stability," he said. "Potential of cooperation in politics, economy, humanitarian sphere is huge, but it is still to be used, we are open to it as much as the US is ready."

Lavrov considers Merkel's suggestion to discuss cybersecurity at Russia-NATO Council a sign they are ready to go back to concrete work.

"If now the German chancellor speaks for having the Russia-NATO Council consider cybersecurity issues, my opinion is that at least Berlin wants the Russia-NATO Council to resume full-fledged cooperation, not to limit itself to artificial cooperation," he said.

The claims Russia was involved in cyber espionage still remain unproved by at least a single fact, Lavrov said.

"For some reason, when we are accused of anything - no facts are presented," he said. "I am saying once again: give us the facts."
"Not a single fact addressed to Russia while there are facts, pointing to the other direction to the source of that illegal activity," Lavrov said.

.To Russia remains absolutely unclear the West's obsession with the cyber espionage topic, and besides remains also a tendency to make only Moscow responsible for settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, Lavrov said.
"As we mind the obsession of the Western counterparts with the position the Ukrainian crisis should be settled by Russia only, and their absolutely strange obsession with cybersecurity and cyber espionage, we are explaining our position as much as we can," he said in response to a request to comment on his impressions from the questions he received during the panel.