12 Mar 2022 11:15

No dialogue with NATO possible amid its supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) - No dialogue with NATO is possible when its member states are supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's European Cooperation Department Nikolai Kobrinets said in an interview with Interfax.

"At present, the member states of the alliance [and extensively the European Union] are supplying lethal weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, not caring a dime about the international rules and their own codes of conduct. The weapons intended to kill Russian servicemen. No dialogue with NATO can be possible in these circumstances," the high-ranking Russian diplomat said, commenting on possible contacts between Moscow and Brussels, among other things.

"NATO's relations with Russia have been lowered to zero through the fault of the alliance in the past few years," Kobrinets said. "By refusing to discuss relevant security issues, the North-Atlantic bloc invalidated the importance of the NATO-Russia Council as an all-weather mechanism for consultations in crises," he said.

"Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014, the alliance decided to halt almost all civilian and military cooperation with Russia," he said.

All joint projects were halted at the time, and at the NATO-Russia Council's session resumed in 2016, "the North-Atlantic bloc made discussing the Ukrainian issue as a mandatory condition, although it was not its business" while "ignoring proposals on de-escalations and transparency of military activities," he said.

"The alliance made a decision on October 6, 2021, to withdraw accreditation of eight employees of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO and reduce the number of its staff to ten. It is now the third reduction of the Russian Permanent Mission, the previous ones happened in 2015 and 2018. In absence of relevant conditions for its diplomatic operations, Russia suspended work of its Permanent Mission to NATO and activities of the alliance's Military Liaison Mission in Moscow. Operations of the NATO Information Office in the Russian capital were also halted," he said.

"Urgent contacts with the alliance's headquarters are currently maintained with the Russian ambassador to Belgium. The military attache in Brussels maintains military contacts. We receive messages of the NATO secretary-general, requests of possible contacts via these channels," Kobrinets said.