Russian MFA: No Guarantees There Won't Be Incidents With NATO in Light of Arms Supplies to Ukraine
12:32 GMT 02.03.2022 (Updated: 13:30 GMT 02.03.2022)
On 28 February, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance was increasing supplies of air defence missiles and anti-tank weapons to Ukraine amid the military operation launched by Russia to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine.
There are no guarantees that there won't be any incidents with NATO as the alliance continues to supply arms to Ukraine, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said.
"We are extremely concerned about those arms delivery programmes", he said. "Everything in this situation is very dangerous, there are no guarantees that there will be no incidents [with NATO]".
Commenting on the potential risks of such incidents between Russia and the alliance, the Russian diplomat noted that Moscow believes it is "reasonable" of NATO not to interfere militarily in the situation in Ukraine.
"This indicates that there is at least some sanity left in NATO's actions," Grushko said.
He said that there is still a risk of collision between Moscow and NATO, and there are no guarantees that potential incidents will not be "escalated in an unnecessary way".
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance "is not going to be part of the conflict
" in Ukraine and has no plans to deploy troops in the country or move planes into its airspace.
Still, NATO countries have continued to supply weapons to Ukraine, with Stoltenberg saying in late February that the alliance was increasing supplies of air defence missiles and anti-tank weapons to the country.
Pondering the paths that Russia-NATO relations could take
, Grushko said it is too early to talk about that, but noted it was "clear they cannot be the same" as they were. Pointing at how Russia has repeatedly warned the West that NATO's promise to accept Ukraine is a "ticking mechanism [that] ... will explode sooner or later". The diplomat said Moscow has "always advocated political and diplomatic solutions, not military, not military-technical solutions".
"We have been warning all the time that if this cannot be resolved politically on the basis of consensus, on the basis of a balance of interests, we will have to take the measures that we deem necessary, then it will be too late to ask why we did it", he explained.
A new architecture in relations with NATO is possible if the issue with Russia's security guarantees is resolved, Grushko noted, pointing out that Russia will continue to insist on providing it with legal guarantees of NATO's non-expansion to the east.
Russia started a military operation in Ukraine to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" the nation's western neighbour in response to calls for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in countering aggression by Ukrainian troops. The Kremlin said it has no plans to occupy Ukraine, with the Russian Defence Ministry underlining that Russian troops in Ukraine only target military infrastructure and that the civilian population is not in danger