Russia-NATO relations back to starting point

(VOVWORLD) - Russia has decided to completely cease civilian and military cooperation with NATO, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksander Grushko announced on Monday. Russia made the decision 5 years after NATO suspended cooperation with Russia in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Relations between Russia and NATO have returned to the Cold War era when NATO was established 70 years ago.
Russia-NATO relations back to starting point - ảnh 1(illustrative image)

Both sides say there is no confrontation, but suspicions have always existed. Their relationship has been strained since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014. NATO has also accused Russia of involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. But President Vladimir Putin’s administration has repeatedly denied the accusation.

Chill relationship

Russia’s decision comes after years of NATO refusing to make any concessions. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grushko said it is NATO that has abandoned a positive agenda in relations with Russia without giving any reason.

Yury Shvytkin, deputy head of the Russian State Duma’s Committee on Defence said NATO’s recent statements show that it does not want to maintain relations with Russia. NATO has adopted confrontation and hostility in its relations with Russia, visible in the number of NATO bases and drills near Russia’s border.

Earlier this month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the US Congress on NATO’s 70th anniversary that Russia is an unprecedented challenge. Russia-NATO relations are tense because of NATO’s proposed missile shield system and plans to admit Georgia and Ukraine.

Not an arms race

The public fears a new arms race now that Russia and NATO have ended cooperation. But the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister says Moscow will not enter an arms race with NATO and instead will rely on "economic, accurate and effective” measures, despite NATO’s military budget being 22 times that of Russia. Russia will not increase its military budget, but will significantly modernize its armed forces.

Secretary General Stoltenberg said NATO doesn’t want a cold war and doesn’t plan to deploy ground missiles in Europe. NATO has enough problems dealing with terrorism, ISIS, the Syrian conflict, and the immigration crisis. Given Russia’s special role in resolving conflicts all over the world, goodwill and mutual trust are the best way for Russia and NATO to narrow differences.

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