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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during press conference on December 13, 2016

    Lavrov Unveils Why NATO Sent Ties With Russia Into Deep Freeze

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    The North Atlantic Alliance sent relations with Moscow into a deep freeze after its plans aimed at severing ties between Russia and Ukraine failed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday.

    "NATO became bitter that its project aimed at bringing the entire Ukraine into its sphere of influence, making Ukraine part of the North Atlantic Alliance and using Crimea to encircle Russia fell through," he explained in an interview with the Mir channel.

    As a result, the US-led military alliance suspended cooperation in all areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts, Russia's top diplomat said. However, the bloc has tried to relaunch dialogue despite "the resistance from an aggressive minority."

    The Kremlin has always maintained that Moscow is ready to discuss issues of mutual concern with NATO on equal terms and without preconditions.

    'NATO's arrogance is not helping'

    Lavrov also said that NATO could not be compared with the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a defense organization comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

    "The CSTO development strategy does not mention any country or organization as our adversary. In contrast, NATO members perceive Russia as an opponent or even a threat and attempt to downplay the status and the importance of CSTO activities," he said.

    The North Atlantic Alliance is reluctant to work with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, as well as to view it as a full-fledged international organization, recognized by the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Lavrov added.

    "I think that NATO's arrogance is not helping," he said.

    'Aggressive anti-Russian minority'

    The Russian foreign minister criticized the "abnormal" situation when some Western politicians' "politicized approach" toward ties with Russia had become more important than economic interests of their own countries and citizens.

    "The trend to abandon this 'abnormal' approach, in my opinion, is getting stronger. Not everyone in the European Union is ready to accept this, and the so-called aggressive minority is making every effort to maintain its position and the common position of the European Union at the lowest point. Meanwhile, the principle of [European] solidarity should presuppose a search for consensus, a compromise between extremes," he said.

    Lavrov noted that there are two positions in the EU: those who are categorically against any normalization of relations with Russia, and those who advocate a way out of the "sanctions deadlock."

    "We, I repeat, do not raise this issue and do not want to interfere in internal discussions, but we see how they really develop in the European Union," Russia's top diplomat concluded.

    On meeting between Putin and Trump

    The Russian foreign minister also commented on the upcoming talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, saying that the meeting needs to be well prepared.

    "Russia and the United States have such a profound effect on international stability and security that concrete results would be expected from this meeting. It needs to be well prepared to achieve them. This is what we are doing right now," he said.

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    Tags:
    Russia-NATO cooperation, Collective Security Treaty Organization, NATO, Sergei Lavrov, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, Russia
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