"NATO is a reality, it’s an atavism of the Cold War times," Lavrov said on Friday when asked by RT host Larry King to elaborate on his views of NATO. "We don’t believe in what NATO is doing by trying to expand further and further, closer to Russia's borders, swallowing countries, which frankly, does not add to the alliance's security. We do not believe this is the way to resolve today's problems."
Lavrov noted that Russia and the United States today face common threats and enemies — "terrorism, climate change, organized crime and none of these is being effectively addressed by NATO expansion."
Lavrov also stressed that Russia is not going to attack any country, but at the same time Moscow does not want to be left without defenses and is developing new weapons solely to protect its security.
"George W. Bush told President [Vladimir] Putin at that time in 2002 … ‘Do whatever you want in response to our leaving the [missile defense] treaty because we will also take it as not aimed against us,’" Lavrov said. "That’s when we started to develop these new weapons that can overcome missile defenses, because we don’t want to find ourselves in a situation in which we would be defenseless in front of the United States."
"When at some point the United States dropped out of the missile defense treaty unilaterally, that’s when the revisionism began by the way, which continues until now," Lavrov said. "The United States dropped out of so many international agreements, which is really an attempt to revise the international order."
Lavrov also said that the upcoming summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump is only the beginning of normal communications, but an ideal outcome would be to reach an agreement on utilizing all communication channels on all divisive issues.
When asked what would make for a successful summit from a Russian point of view and what Moscow is looking forward to with respect to the summit, Lavrov said, "The beginning of normal communications."
Putin and Trump are to meet in Helsinki on July 16. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the two leaders would have serious talks on complex issues.
In the interview Lavrov also told Larry King that Trump’s efforts to denuclearize North Korea are good for the world and contribute to confidence building measures.
"We strongly support the efforts undertaken by President Trump, also by the President of South Korea to build up an atmosphere, an atmosphere conducive to resolving nuclear issues of the Korean Peninsula and to bring all of us to denuclearization," Lavrov said. "From the very beginning we suggested together with China that a first step must be confidence building, and the second step should be some confidence building measures like freezing launches and tests, like freezing the military exercises. And I believe that what is going on is going in the right direction."
Lavrov also spoke on the subject of human rights violations. He stressed that Russia condemns any violations of human rights including those in Syria.
"So, my point is that we condemn any violations of human rights, any violations of international humanitarian law whoever commits them – governments, opposition, foreign countries interfering — but we have to see the entire picture and we have to think about the price just for the sake of being moral," Lavrov said. When asked whether he includes Syria in that statement, Lavrov said, "Yes."