Russian officials, in response to the decision, Wednesday, to cut off military and civilian cooperation, accused NATO of returning to the Cold War mentality. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a joint appearance with his Kazakstani counterpart, said that “Russia-NATO relations are based on certain rules, particularly the Rome Declaration, under which no country has a right to deploy additional troops in East European states.”
The Rome Declaration, signed in 2002, established the NATO-Russia Council based on the principle that NATO member states and Russia will work “as equal partners in areas of common interest.” Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, sarcastically accused NATO of succumbing to Cold War instincts.
“Basic instincts of Cold War have awoken in NATO, affecting rhetoric accordingly,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. “‘The alliance is under threat!’ Seems like taxpayers will have to fork out for military games.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin also derided the NATO announcement, noting that it was made on April Fool’s Day and that NATO had acted similarly after the 2008 Georgia war, but then restored full cooperation within a few months.
“Last time (in 2008) they were freezing for three months, and thawed by December,” he said, also on Twitter. “What can I say: it’s a Cold War, so they are still freezing.”
The Russian Defense Ministry announced, yesterday, that it was recalling Russia’s top military representative to NATO, Colonel General Valery Yevnevich, for consultations in Moscow, reported Itar-Tass. “The policy of deliberate whipping up tensions is not our choice, nonetheless, we see no possibility to continue military cooperation with NATO in a routine regime,” said Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov.
Referring to the just concluded NATO meeting in Brussels, Antonov said that “The secretary general of the alliance showed up with a number of confrontational statements once again. Such actions on the background of unprovoked build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe in the exact proximity to the Russian borders in no way promote the de-escalation of tensions in the region.” Antonov also warned that the suspension of cooperation will undo everything that has been accomplished over the past several years. “We would like to hope that Brussels is well aware of the consequences of this step to security in the Euro-Atlantic region,” he said.