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Grushko: NATO’s Turn Against Russia Began Even Before the Ukraine Crisis

July 1, 2105 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, in remarks widely reported by the Russian English-language news media, stressed a number of points about the NATO-Russia relationship: NATO has moved to a policy of deterring Russia; NATO was turning east even before the Ukraine crisis exploded; Russia will take the necessary measures to defend against the NATO threat on its borders; and Russia is willing to discuss INF treaty issues with the US, but the talks must be depoliticized.

Last week’s NATO defense ministers meeting

"has become another [example of] proof that NATO is switching from a policy of partnership to a policy of deterring Russia, Grushko said. Unfortunately, the political line we have observed in the past 18 months is nailed down in the sphere of military building and planning,"

he continued.

"The plans to create by the end of the year six coordinating headquarters cells in Baltic countries; Poland, Romania and Bulgaria have been confirmed. It has been stated as well that NATO will study the possibility of creating additional cells—three countries were mentioned, these are Greece, Hungary and Slovakia,"

Grushko said.

He said that the Iran nuclear deal (if it pans out) will be the "moment of truth" for the US/NATO missile defense scheme for Europe, since the ostensible reason for the construction of the system was the alleged missile threat from Iran.

As for Ukraine, Grushko also sees that as nothing but a pretext for NATO’s turn to the east. "This is an extremely dangerous tendency as it envisages long-term trends," he said. "NATO links the need for such a turn to Russia’s alleged aggressive actions in Ukraine," Grushko went on.

"But NATO cannot but see what efforts are made by Russia to ensure the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. However, those decisions that are taken are [in] no way linked to the Ukrainian crisis, what [which—ed.] is becoming another evidence that the military and political turn of NATO was devised long before the Ukrainian events,"

he said.

And Russia will respond to any threat near its borders.

"In terms of defense, not only political considerations are taken into account, but also potentials that might be deployed along our border," Grushko said. "We have been able to see that NATO is making a U-turn and trying to ensure its security by projecting force to Russia. In our military planning, we will bear in mind the emergence of new potentials along our borders and take measures to ward off any threat stemming from the deployment of these potentials,"

he said.

"We’ve been saying from the very beginning we were ready to consider any concerns and to hold consultations with the American side, and we did hold such consultations,"

Grushko said regarding the INF Treaty.

"Still, no one has shown us any precisely specified problems that might cause whatever concern on the American side,"

he said.

"The situation is crystal clear," he went on. "We’re prepared to hold a serious discussion, but it should be devoid of politicizing and based on facts. As for this moment, the INF is used as a propaganda tool so as to expose once again the alleged aggressive essence of Russia’s intentions."