NATO’s declared readiness to work with Moscow on easing tensions in bilateral relations does not reflect the alliance’s actual policy toward Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told TASS on Thursday.
"NATO representatives say all the time that they are not seeking confrontation with Russia, that they are ready to work on de-escalation with us," said Grushko, who is Russia’s former envoy to NATO. "But steps currently being made by NATO show that those statements cannot be treated as reflecting actual policies. Day by day, we get information about new decisions, intended to step up NATO military capabilities on the eastern flank."
According to Grushko, Moscow observes NATO activities comparable only to those during the Cold War.
"We see that right now NATO has been reinforcing is eastern flank to protect itself from the non-existent threat, and employing deterrence schemes of the Cold War-era," he said. "Moreover, the alliance sticks to the decisions of the Warsaw and Wales summits to end cooperation with Russia."
At the same time, the diplomat said that Moscow was ready for a dialogue.
"We are open for dialogue and we have suggested various ideas on how to organize it via bilateral channels with separate members of the alliance - for example, with the Baltic states - on the basis of existing agreements aimed at preventing military incidents," Grushko said. "We were ready to work with NATO in a collective format as well, but no progress has been made in this direction so far."
He said he was sure that member states of the alliance will eventually realize that their policies were a mistake.
"I’m convinced that Europeans should realize that the policy toward Russia that they had chosen is a total deadlock, it’s counterproductive, and that instead of strengthening international and regional security, it undermines security interests," Grushko added.
"Our policy is relatively calm," the diplomat said. "From the military point of view, Russia takes all necessary measures needed to protect our security interests and make sure that our national defense remains at a proper level."
He expressed regret that NATO missed chances for a mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia.