14 Jan. 2022 15:59 Uhr
During his Question Time, the Russian Foreign Minister discussed Russia’s foreign policy agenda. The chief diplomat commented on NATO and proposed security guarantees as well as on the CSTO mission in Kazakhstan and announced that Putin would visit China.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spent around three hours answering journalists’ questions. The annual press conference was held at the Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. Lavrov spoke in detail about the current issues of NATO expansion and Russia’s proposals for security guarantees. Against the background of the consultations held with the Alliance and the US, the Russian foreign minister stated that Russia is waiting for written answers from the US and NATO on the proposed proposals:
“We expect answers from our colleagues, written answers that will be put on paper, as we did with our proposals. But in the meantime we will of course continue to work to ensure that we are prepared for all developments.”
NATO continues to try to artificially attract new members, the chief diplomat noted. Lavrov referred to Finland and Sweden. Russia fully respects the sovereignty of Finland and Sweden, the diplomat said. Lavrov emphasized that these countries’ policy of neutrality is one of the most important contributions to the pan-European architecture and stability on the European continent:
“Those who do not respect the sovereignty of Finland and Sweden are the ones who want to get them to join NATO by any means and at any price.”
In addition, Ukraine’s NATO membership would be unacceptable to Moscow. According to the Russian chief diplomat, such a scenario is a direct crossing of the red lines. Similarly, Lavrov assessed the stationing of Alliance weapons on the territory of the neighboring country. Lavrov also criticized the EU’s plan to send a military training mission to Ukraine:
“That means they also want to contribute to the training of anti-Russian units.”
The EU emphasizes that the mission will be an “expression of solidarity” with Ukraine given Russia’s alleged military activities near the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied allegations of planning an invasion of Ukraine, pointing out that it is NATO that is intensifying its activities on the borders with Russia.
Responding to a question about the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan, the Russian Foreign Minister said they were deployed there at the request of the Kazakh authorities. Now the contingents would leave the republic again, while US troops would remain in Iraq. This despite the fact that the Iraqi parliament has demanded their withdrawal. At the same time, Lavrov denounced the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for not responding to an attack on journalists in Kazakhstan.
Regarding the rumors about a possible invitation from Kazakhstan to the Russia-Belarus union state, the chief diplomat said that Russia is not courting anyone:
“We have a procedure where, if someone approaches us, we obviously make a constructive review.”
Meanwhile, Lavrov announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on February 4. Comprehensive high-level talks are also scheduled to take place on the same day, according to the Russian Federation’s chief diplomat.
more on the subject – LIVE: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov takes diplomatic stock of 2021 (German)