Russia warns of potential 'tragedy'
The West is making hazardous gambles in its negotiations on European security with Moscow that could place the world on a perilous path to chaos, one of Russia’s most senior diplomats has warned as tensions flare across the continent.
Speaking to RIA Novosti on Thursday, Russia’s ambassador to the UN office in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, weighed in on the impasse between Moscow, Washington, and several of its partners in Europe.
“Our serious concern is that the US and its allies are exacerbating the situation to the point where the game of raising the stakes could turn into a real tragedy,” he warned. “The perpetrators will be those who have imposed this dangerous game on us, and by and large the international community.”
The diplomat added that the all-or-nothing approach is well known in diplomacy and “has been used many times in the history of international relations.” However, Gatilov remained hopeful that Washington and some of its partners were not ready to wage an all-out conflict with Russia.
His remarks come amid an increasingly tense situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent months, with Western officials warning that Moscow’s armed forces could invade its neighbor. As a result of the critical climate, several NATO members have pledged to bolster their presence in the region.
In late January, the US-led military bloc announced that its members are “putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in Eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defense as Russia continues its military build-up” around Ukraine.
The Kremlin, however, has denied that it has any aggressive intentions toward Kiev and has instead looked to pursue obtaining security guarantees that would rule out the bloc’s expansion, place restrictions on missile placement, as well as other assurances.
However, NATO’s chief, Jens Stoltenberg, has poured scorn on Russia’s requests, saying that the country has no veto on Ukraine’s efforts to join, and that it will not accept a “two-tier” membership system that prevents it from deploying troops in certain states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said that the military faction had deceived Moscow with false promises that it would not expand into the space left after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Not an inch to the East they told us in the 1990s, and look what happened – they cheated us, vehemently and blatantly,” he insisted.