Second part of H.E. Ambassador Kirill Barsky’s interview to Matichon Weekly Magazine

What will US-Russia relations look like in the near future?

I wish I could know the answer. However we know what they should look like.

First of all, Russia and the US bear special responsibility for the global strategic stability. Russia and the US possess the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Our countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council. We are key players in international and regional affairs. Russia and the US face the same global threats and challenges as international terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, proliferation of WMD climate change etc.

That is why it is vital that the Russian-US relations are based on mutual trust and respect for legitimate interests of one another. We must work together.

But what do we see today? Washington is continuously imposing unilateral illegal sanctions against Russia. The US has “frozen” almost all communication channels with Russia – we couldn’t imagine such a thing even during the Cold War era! The US and its allies are trying to demonize my country, accusing it of all sorts of evils. We have never seen such a level of Russophobia in the West.

The reason behind this US policy is obvious. The West is in decline. We are witnessing emergence of a multipolar world where the US is loosing its dominant role. Instead of adjusting its interests to the new environment for the benefit of peace, stability and prosperity of the whole world the us decided to punish Russia for its independent foreign policy and to curb its successful economic development. Such strategy will never work.

Russia is always ready for cooperation with the US on the basis of equality and mutual respect. But is the White House ready for that? Time will show.

How are the relations between Russia and NATO?

To understand what is happening between Russia and NATO today we need to look into the nature of NATO. NATO is the result of the Cold War time military confrontation. The USSR was an enemy for NATO before its dissolution. If there is no enemy, any motives for the bloc’s existence would disappear. That it why containment of Russia was chosen as the primary goal of the Organization.

Back in the past, Russia contributed to eliminating the remnants of the bloc confrontation period by withdrawing its troops from Germany and other Central and Eastern European countries, and subsequently from the Baltics, as well as by honouring its pledge to reduce conventional forces and nuclear weapons. In response, NATO has carried out three waves of enlargement in violation of the promises to the contrary made to the Soviet Union. The North Atlantic Alliance is continuously expanding its membership to the East. Today NATO and its individual member-countries, primarily the United States, are implementing a package of measures to build up its military potential near Russian borders.

The NATO military are trying to engage Russia’s immediate neighbors. They regularly call at the ports of Georgia, Finland, Sweden and Ukraine and hold joint military exercises with them. This amounts to an accelerated militarization of the once most tranquil Baltic and Northern European countries. Military and political tensions are growing in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea areas. Ukrainian crisis is far from being settled.

In 2002 we established body for cooperation and coordination of political and military actions – the Russia-NATO Council. However after the bloc’s decision to “freeze” relations with Russia in 2014 there were no meetings in that format.

NATO leaders regularly note the need for meaningful dialogue and efforts to achieve de-escalation as well as to prevent unintentional incidents. But their practical steps, including the expulsion of Russian diplomats from NATO member-countries and the reduction of the personnel of the Russia Permanent Mission to NATO in Brussels by one-third, hardly correlate with these statements.

Russia is always ready for cooperation with NATO. Its future depends on NATO and its actions.





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