NATO crossed ‘red line’ with military build-up around Russian borders – envoy to NATO
Relations with states neighboring Russia never developed “military dimensions” despite strained relations with some of them, including with the Baltic states, Grushko said. But the situation has now changed, thanks to the military bloc, he told a discussion panel at the Valdai Club on Tuesday.
“Now, thanks to NATO, we have a military dimension, it was their choice, they crossed the red line,” Grushko, who was Russia’s permanent representative to the alliance until late January, said. At the moment, the representative’s post is vacant.
While the West has been trying hard to isolate Russia and fuel anti-Russian hysteria, international security is the only thing that suffers from this approach, according to Grushko. Any NATO and EU attempts to create “isolated safe havens” are doomed to failure, the diplomat said, as the creation of solid security systems cannot succeed without Russia.
The situation on Russia’s doorstep is also reminiscent of “Cold War schemes,” which should already have been buried as they were proven to be inefficient. However, if the alliance turns its back on Russia, it will only harm its own security, the Russian official added.
“If they do not want dialogue, then there won’t be any. It takes two to tango, as you know, it will be a conscious choice of the alliance,” Grushko said.
In the wake of international hysteria over the Skripal case and following the mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from a range of countries, NATO cut the permanent size of the Russian mission from a maximum of 30 to 20. Grushko stressed that the alliance is damaging itself with such moves, as it merely decreased the already reduced level of bilateral cooperation.