The Russian Lavrov warns against militarization of the EU, says similar to NATO

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says there is now “very little difference” between the European Union and NATO.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the European Union is “being militarized at a record pace” and that there was now little difference between the EU and NATO.

Lavrov told a press conference at the United Nations in New York on Tuesday that a recently signed statement essentially states that NATO’s 31-member military alliance will ensure the security of the 27-member EU bloc.

He appeared to be referring to an EU-NATO statement in January about their “strategic partnership”, which called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “the biggest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades”, but the statement does not say that NATO will guarantee security. of the EU.

NATO and the European Union (EU) work together on issues of common concern and work side-by-side in crisis management, capacity development and political consultations, as well as providing support to their common partners in the East and South. his website.

Lavrov was asked if the war in Ukraine was a miscalculation on Russia’s part, as Finland had been a member of NATO since the invasion of Moscow, with Sweden expected to be the next member, and Ukraine was also lobbying for membership.

“NATO has never intended to stop,” he replied, referring to what Moscow sees as the expansion of the Western military alliance to its borders.

Lavrov also referred to actions in recent years with Sweden and Finland “increasingly participating in NATO military exercises and other actions designed to align the military programs of NATO members and neutral states”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained about NATO expansion and even used that as justification for invading Ukraine.

During a visit to Kiev last week, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine’s “rightful place” was in the military alliance and pledged more support for the country in its fight against Russia.

Lavrov said Russia had been promised on several occasions that NATO would not expand, but he added “those were lies”.

“Unbiased estimates made by both our political scientists and those abroad is that NATO was trying to tear Russia apart,” he said.

“But in the end it just made it stronger, brought it closer together. So let’s not jump to conclusions about where this will all end,” he added.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that two of its Tu-160 strategic missile bombers had completed a planned flight of more than 14 hours over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian Seas, while the German air force said NATO aircraft had three. intercepted. Russian reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

The two Russian Su-27 fighters and an Ilyushin IL-20 aircraft flew without transmitting transponder signals, the German air force said.

The NATO states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania do not have their own fighter jets, so the military alliance has been securing their airspace in northeastern Europe since 2004 with the help of air forces from other NATO members.

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