MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. NATO’s actions in the Balkans do not boost anyone’s security, while the alliance’s expansion has not made it more capable of countering threats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Serbia’s Beta News Agency.
"The expansion of NATO is a mistake and, at the same time, a violation of the gentlemen’s agreement, which has been fully confirmed now in official archival documents declassified in the US," Lavrov said. "Everyone has long known about that, but after the publication of these archival documents everyone could see how all that happened."
The minister recalled that Moscow had repeatedly warned its NATO counterparts that the alliance’s expansion was "the biggest challenge to European stability and security." "[NATO] tries to keep its contingent divided into two parts. Attempts are made to move these dividing lines eastwards, closer to our borders," the minister pointed out.
According to Lavrov, all that "has caused enormous damage to efforts to ensure stability and security on the European continent." "Nothing that is being done by NATO boosts anyone’s security, including the security of the Balkan states, which, by the way, pose no threat at all to Russia’s security," he stressed. "None of what is happening now is a step towards increasing NATO’s ability to respond to real rather than fake threats."
The minister noted that NATO’s expansion had not made the alliance more capable of thwarting terrorist and drug threats, including those emanating from the Balkans. Western countries, he noted, are concerned about the situation in Kosovo where a "black hole" in security had appeared because of the alliance’s actions.
"So, we convey all our assessments on NATO’s expansion to our partners, whether it be in the Balkans or elsewhere in Europe," Lavrov said. "We hope what is happening now and to what extent all that meets fundamental interests of certain peoples will be taken into account while making sovereign decisions."