FM remarks from 53rd Munich Security Conference; Russia calls for reforms and mutual respect for “global stability”; Lavrov addresses tension between US and Russia, claims that “NATO’s expansion has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the past 30 years in Europe.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Saturday that the “Cold War is still not over,” accusing NATO of being a “Cold War institution” and calling for post-West world order.
Lavrov made his remarks during the 53rd Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Russia calling for “pragmatism, mutual respect and responsibility for global stability,” amidst accusations of Russia’s violation of the INF treaty due to its deployment of a SSC-8 cruise missile, a violation of the 1987 agreement which bans intermediate-range rockets.
Under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), US and Russia agreed to not possess, produce, test or deploy intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles with capabilities between 310-3,420 miles.
The Foreign Minister stated on criticism during the conference from the United States and European states that, “Judging by certain statements at the Munich Conference, the Cold War is still not over.”
On tension between Russia and the United States under the Obama Administration and Europe, he stated that “The tensions of the past years between the US, Europe and Russia are unnatural, adding that “Russia is not looking for a conflict with anyone but will always be able to protect its interests.”
The Russian foreign minister spoke of the dire need to reform and need to “resume our military cooperation with NATO” however criticized NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg for not being prepared for such reforms, Lavrov stating “[Stoltenberg] couldn’t say that NATO is ready for this. It’s sad. NATO’s expansion has led to an unprecedented level of tension over the past 30 years in Europe.”
Lavrov was referring to remarks made by Stoltenberg that “Any non-compliance of Russia with the INF Treaty would be a serious concern for the alliance.”
Lavrov stated that Russia does “not agree categorically with those who accuse Russia and new centers of global influence of attempts to undermine the so-called liberal world order. Crisis of this model of the world was programmed even when the concept of economic and political globalization was invented mostly as an instrument to provide growth of the elite club of countries and its dominating all the others.”
Russia denied any violation of the INF, spokesman for President Putin, Dmitry Peskov, stating on Wednesday, “Russia remains committed to its international obligations, including under the INF Treaty.”
NATO condemned Russia’s violation, stating earlier this week “The INF Treaty eliminated an entire category of weapons that threatened Europe, in particular the threat of short-warning attacks. The treaty remains a key component of our security, and any Russian non-compliance is a serious concern for the alliance. NATO allies have the capabilities in place to ensure that Russia will not gain any military advantage from disregarding the INF Treat.”
The United States condemned the missile deployment on Wednesday, the US Department releasing the statement “The Russian Federation remains in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”