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15 Apr, 2019 15:09

Military & civil cooperation between Moscow & NATO nonexistent – Russian deputy FM

Military & civil cooperation between Moscow & NATO nonexistent – Russian deputy FM

NATO has reverted to Cold War behavior and virtually no cooperation between the bloc and Moscow exists, the Russian deputy FM says. There are no signs the situation will improve, since the alliance is craving a new arms race.

Relations between NATO and Russia – or lack thereof – was the main topic of a long interview with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Grushko, published by RIA Novosti on Monday.

“Civil and military cooperation has ceased completely. NATO itself has dropped any positive agenda in relations with Russia. It does not exist. And so far there are no signs that NATO knows how to get out of this deadlock,” Grushko stated.

While cooperation between Russia and NATO has been put on hold before – in 1999 when the bloc attacked Yugoslavia and in 2008, during the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia – the ongoing crisis is the longest one.

Since 2014, relations between NATO and Moscow have rapidly deteriorated and the military bloc claimed there can be no “business as usual” after Moscow’s reunification with Crimea. Hitting back, Grushko said that confrontation-seeking has become “business as usual” for the Western alliance.

“NATO has gone too far in pumping confrontation with Russia, and it is not yet clear when and where common sense will prevail,” the diplomat said, adding that the old, trusty ‘Russian threat’ narrative turned out to be the best thing to reinvigorate the alliance.

They’ve dusted off the Harmel doctrine of dialogue and deterrence. Yet, there’s too much deterrence and too little dialogue in this formula now.

The alliance is actively modernizing its infrastructure, honing the rapid troops redeployment skills – primarily, on its “eastern flank” – basically, on Russia’s borders. The combined military spending of NATO is growing and it surpassed $1 trillion last year, Grushko said, adding that Russia spends 22 times less on its military.

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NATO countries – the US primarily – are pushing for a new arms and budget race, and the US military-industrial complex is the main beneficiary of it. While NATO is eager to drag Russia into it – to further peddle the ‘Russian threat’ narrative, Moscow will not follow the path.

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