Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday said Russia sees NATO as a Cold War institution and is hoping for the creation of a “post-West world order.”
“What kind of relations do we want with the US? Pragmatic relations, mutual respect, understanding our special responsibility for global stability,” the Russian foreign minister said, speaking through an interpreter.
“Responsible leaders should make a choice, I hope that the choice will be done in favor a creating a democratic and just world order.
“If you want, you can call it a post-West world order when each country, based on its sovereignty within the rules of international law, will strive to find a balance between its own national interests and the national interests of partners,” he said.
“We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into, and we’re open for that inasmuch as the US is open for that as well.”
Lavrov also denied interfering in the US elections and in Germany, saying, “Whenever Russia gets blamed, there are no facts…only accusations.
“The tensions of the past years between the US, Europe and Russia are unnatural. Russia is not looking for a conflict with anyone but will always be able to protect its interests,” Lavrov said, adding that he wanted to see a “common space of good neighborly relations from Vancouver to Vladivostok.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told The Associated Press that Moscow’s criticism of NATO was well known and has increased as NATO positioned battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland as a deterrence to a “more assertive Russia.”
“We don’t want to provoke a conflict. We want to prevent conflict and preserve the peace,” Stoltenberg said. “Our aim is not to isolate Russia. We don’t want a new Cold War, we don’t want a new arms race, what we do is measured and defensive.
“NATO is an alliance for the 21st century. We are an alliance for today and tomorrow because we have the unique ability to change and adapt when the world is changing.”
At the conference, US Vice President Mike Pence said the US “will hold Russia accountable” and expects Russia to abide by the 2015 Minsk agreement to reduce violence in the Ukraine.