MOSCOW — Moscow is receiving signals that NATO is trying to rethink its relations with Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the Kommersant daily, publicized on its website on Wednesday.
"As you know, French President Emmanuel Macron described the situation in NATO with a medical term (‘brain death’ - TASS). That is why, it was decided at the recent summit in London to create a group of ‘wise persons’ to draft recommendations by 2021 as to how to adjust NATO to new realities," Grushko said.
"There have already been signals that an attempt will be made within the framework of this process to also rethink relations with Russia. I hope that the organization will arrive at the obvious conclusion that building up NATO’s military might to face ‘a great threat’ from the east is senseless and counterproductive, even from the point of view of security of the bloc’s member countries, who are now spending huge means and forces to fight an alleged threat," the diplomat said.
There have been no concrete moves to rethink the alliance’s attitude to Russia so far, but "certain processes" are happening inside NATO, "connected with its seeing the need to adapt the bloc to new threats".
"It seems as if its member countries once again find themselves in the situation of the hunter catching an elephant by the tail - it’s a shame to let it go, but it is unclear what to do with it," the diplomat noted.
"Generally, NATO has not visibly deviated from the initial mission, formulated by its first Secretary General, Lord Hastings Ismay, as to "keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down," he went on to say.
"In any case, no matter how this process ends, Russia has a whole arsenal of means to ensure our legitimate interests and our defence capabilities. However, I would like to hope that a serious attempt will be made to turn NATO to face real threats and challenges and see the organisation join international efforts," he stressed.
"Continuing the current anti-Russian policy will only worsen the crisis of the alliance. Many admit the obvious thing - reliable security can be ensured only with Russia, and not without it, or all the more against it," the high-ranking diplomat summed up.
Russia suggested that NATO give up on its military exercises in the areas of Russia’s contact with NATO member countries, Grushko said.
"We invited the NATO member countries to agree on lowering the level of military exercises, to even give up on holding them in the area of Russia’s contact with NATO countries," the diplomat said.
Grushko said that this primarily concerned the Baltic and Black Sea regions. However, there was no reaction whatsoever from NATO, he stressed. "This is absolutely inexplicable for us, since the Alliance is speaking about the importance of de-escalation," the diplomat stressed.
French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier in an interview with The Economist magazine that "what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO." According to the French president, Europe stands on "the edge of a precipice" and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power, otherwise we will "no longer be in control of our destiny". — TASS