31 May 2018 10:36

Grushko: Russia ready for dialogue with NATO, but protects national interests

MOSCOW. May 31 (Interfax) - Russia is ready for dialogue with NATO but will defend its national interests, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the newspaper Izvestia in an interview published on Thursday.

"It takes two to tango. We have ended nothing, and we are ready for dialogue. But wherever NATO infringes on our national interests, we will defend them as much as the real situation requires," Grushko said.

"NATO's actual policy is based on Cold War patterns," he said.

"Everyone knows that European security is undermined when countries declare themselves to be the 'front line' and compete to host foreign forces on their territory. The military is very clear about this: if any potential that threatens us emerges, we will take every relevant military-technical measure to neutralize it. That's how military planning works," Grushko said.

"We used to cooperate with NATO in a whole range of areas," he said.

"For example, most employees of drug control services in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central America were trained within the NATO-Russia Council (NRC)'s project. [...] We did a lot to rehabilitate terror attack victims. It was systemic work, but NATO refused to go further for political considerations. Who benefits from this situation? I don't know. We should probably ask the Afghans. Let them ask NATO whether the drug threat is gone," Grushko said.