Russia is willing to restore relations with NATO, but it should be done on a mutual basis, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday. He also said the talks between Russia and NATO earlier this month did not look optimistic.
“Issues of European security will be discussed tomorrow. The situation in this area is sad. Russia’s military cooperation with NATO countries and the European Union is frozen by no fault of ours and the Russia-NATO Council meeting on April 20 has not added any optimism,” Shoigu said, according to Sputnik News.
Shoigu also blamed the United States and NATO’s deployment of military forces near Russian borders in response to Moscow’s retaliatory measures. He added that it was not the Kremlin’s “fault that Russia’s military cooperation with NATO and EU countries has been frozen.”
NATO suspended ties with Russia on April 1, 2014, following Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine and the Crimean annexation in March 2014. The NATO-Russia Council was established in 2002 as a platform for looking over security issues and joint projects, including nuclear nonproliferation and cooperation against terrorism and international drug smuggling. The last meeting was held in June 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long blamed NATO for encroaching on Russia’s sphere.
Separately, Shoigu also said that an unprecedented information war is being carried out against his country.
“Unprecedented and severe information war is being carried out against Russia. The statements about a threat posed by Moscow to the European nations, about necessity of military deterrence of our country are announced,” Shoigu said, according to Sputnik.