Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that Moscow will respond in a reciprocal and “tough manner if necessary” to what he called the hostile actions of the European Union (EU) and NATO in relation to the Ukraine conflict.
In an interview with a website on Tuesday, Lavrov accused the EU of openly declaring the need to inflict “a strategic defeat on Russia” and of supporting Kyiv with weapons and instructors. He said that Russia regarded the EU as a hostile association that had lost Russia due to its own fault.
He also criticized NATO for expanding closer to Russia’s borders and deploying certain weapons systems that pose a threat to Moscow’s security. He said that Russia would not accept new military challenges on its borders and that it was ready to defend its national interests and sovereignty.
Lavrov also said that Moscow would soon present proposals for a new European security pact, which he hoped would stop NATO’s eastward expansion and de-escalate tensions. He said that Russia was open to dialogue and cooperation with the West, but only on an equal and mutually respectful basis.
Meanwhile, Lavrov praised Russia’s relationship with China, saying that the two countries had reached a strategic partnership during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow. He said that Russia and China had a sense of comradeship and readiness to stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of each other’s fundamental interests.
He also accused the West of trying to drive a wedge between Russia and China by portraying their relationship as unequal and dependent. He said that such attempts were doomed to fail and that Russia and China would continue to coordinate their positions on global issues.
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