Moscow-NATO ties unlikely to normalize, says senior Russian diplomat

Moscow ready to find common ground 'only on an equal and mutually respectful basis,' but this has always been problem for NATO, says Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov

12:55 - 29/11/2023 Wednesday
File Photo
File Photo

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Wednesday that Russia-NATO relations are unlikely to normalize in the foreseeable future.

Moscow is ready to find common ground "only on an equal and mutually respectful basis," but this "has always been a problem for the North Atlantic Alliance and its member countries," Ryabkov said in an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia.

When asked if a Russia-NATO conflict is possible in the absence of prospects for normalization, Ryabkov said it depends on the alliance. Russia, for its part, "is ready to defend its national interests with all means at (its) disposal."

"Those who continue to test us for strength, apparently, have come to believe that there are no limits to their own gambling, the game of raising bets. But they may be among the losers," he warned.

The diplomat believes there are no prospects for peace talks with Ukraine because the West, which backs Kyiv, "repeats like a mantra" that Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's "peace formula" is the only basis for agreement, "but on such a basis dialogue is impossible."

Concerning arms control, Ryabkov said there are no draft agreements between Russia and the US to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires in Feb. 2026.

However, if the US expects to win the next arms race if START-3 is not renewed, Ryabkov says it is mistaken.

"We will not fall to provocations, which are very characteristic of American policy in the Russian direction, but we are guaranteed to ensure our security," he said.

The official also reiterated his previous assessment of the possibility of breaking the Russian-US diplomatic relations.

"But we emphasize again and again at different levels that the Russian side will never initiate such a step,” he said, adding, “If this happens, it will happen as a result of Washington's decisions and actions.”

#Sergey Ryabkov
6 months ago