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Russia has no plans to attack NATO countries — diplomat

The European Union’s ambassador to Moscow comments on the forthcoming Russian-Belarussian military exercise West-2017

VILNIUS, August 18. /TASS/. Russia has no intention of initiating a military conflict with NATO, the European Union’s ambassador to Moscow, Lithuanian diplomat Vigaudas Usackas, has said.

"Russia may be regarded as a rather quarrelsome country, but it is my deep conviction that it is not going to attack NATO countries," the Lithuanian daily Respublika quotes Usackas as saying. He believes that speculations on that score "possibly do take place, but there are no such intentions."

Usackas called for taking a sober look at the forthcoming Russian-Belarussian military exercise West-2017.

"Real risks are posed not by the exercise as such, not by plans or scenarios, but by the circumstances that may emerge due to unforeseen events or incidents," he said.

Therefore, Usackas believes, alongside strengthening the military potential and accepting assistance from NATO’s allies "it is important to maintain certain working relations with Russia at the political and military level in order to avoid their escalation in case of misunderstandings."

"This is normal practice in the sphere of security that has been used since the days of the standoff between NATO and the Warsaw Treaty," Usackas said.

He pointed to the need for at least the minimal dialogue with the neighbors.

"One may disagree with the neighbor, it is possible to belong with different camps, but there is no way of replacing one by another," Usackas said.