MINSK, September 27. /TASS/. NATO’s presence near the Russian and Belarusian borders cannot be seen as anything but a potential threat and muscle flexing, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said on Sunday.
"Not long ago, I met with a number of ambassadors from European Union countries at the initiative of my colleagues. I asked a very simple question: ‘What should we think about NATO tanks, including American tanks, being present in the Baltic countries, in the exact proximity to the borders of Russia and Belarus?’ Regrettably, the answer was not very clear because it cannot be seen as anything but muscle flexing and a potential threat to the Union State and thee two brotherly republics," he said in an interview with the STV television channel.
"And once it is so, our response to it is consolidation of the armed forces, including at the Slavic Brotherhood drills," he said, adding that the Slavic Brotherhood-2020 drills that were held in Belarus from September 14 through 25 demonstrated that no one should doubt the Union State’s determination to defend its borders.
Interference into domestic affairs
The European Union’s statements on non-recognition of Alexander Lukashenko as Belarusian president after his inauguration can be seen as an example of interference into domestic affairs of a sovereign state, Dmitry Mezentsev said.
"The format of the statements that came from a number of European capitals, including from the European Union’s capital, to my mind, is an example of unfair attitude, violation of the practice of partner relations and interference into domestic affairs of the country, an attempt to give assessments a sovereign state does not deserve," he said in an interview with the STV television channel.
The Russian diplomat expressed the hope that his colleagues from the EU nations will behave more calmly "regardless of the orders issued by their capitals."
Lukashenko was inaugurated for his sixth presidential term on Wednesday. The ceremony’s date was not announced beforehand. After the inauguration ceremony, a number of nations came up with statements on non-recognition of Lukashenko’s legitimacy. High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Thursday the European Union does not think Lukashenko’s inauguration and a new office term enjoy enough democratic legitimacy and will revise its relations with that country.