Russia ready to mend ties with NATO

The relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War, but Moscow is ready to repair them, the country's military chief said here Wednesday. "We are open to the resumption of a full-scale dialogue and interaction with NATO. The main thing is that this process should take place on an equal, trusting and constructive basis," Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said at the Sixth Moscow Conference on International Security, according to China.org.

Citing Gerasimov in the article Russia ready to mend ties with NATO, China.org states that NATO accuses Russia of being the main source of military threats, while the alliance itself is increasing the scale of military activities in countries near Russia, such as the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. NATO's eastward expansion and deployment of a missile defense system in Europe break the balance of power in the region and increase the risk of military incidents, Gerasimov said.

To make it worse, the European countries are furnishing Kiev with military assistance, provoking it to continue armed confrontation in southeastern Ukraine, the Russian general said. "The trust between Russia and the West is catastrophically decreasing as a result," Gerasimov said. In his view, the lack of close cooperation between Russia and the West on anti-terrorism creates favorable conditions for the Islamic State. A new and mutually beneficial system for European security can be formed only through joint efforts with the participation of all European states, Gerasimov said.

In his speech, the general said he sees two prospects for European security.

The first would be that Russia-NATO conflicts would persist, and the U.S.-led alliance would keep expanding and practicing large-scale military activities on its eastern flank. "In this case, Russia will be forced to respond adequately and carry out necessary deterrence measures, while European security will only worsen," Gerasimov said.

The second scenario would see the West and Russia beginning to understand each other's interests and concerns, establish dialogue on a pragmatic basis, and gradually strengthen mutual trust. "I am confident that the development of events precisely in this scenario will improve security and stability in Europe," Gerasimov said.

The First Moscow Conference on International Security was held in 2012, gathering representatives from countries worldwide to discuss global and regional security issues.

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