Russia’s ability to keep calm is waning, foreign minister indicates
Russia is becoming increasingly weary with the actions of Western powers, Moscow’s top diplomat has warned, following negotiations this week with Washington and NATO on European security concerns.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that Moscow’s "patience has come to an end. We are very patient...we have been harnessing [burdens] for a very long time, and now it’s time for us to go."
According to the veteran official, the Russian side is waiting for the West to give "a concrete answer" to its security proposals.
Lavrov also slammed Washington’s recent demands, that Russia send its troops allegedly poised at the Ukrainian border back to their barracks, as "barking up the wrong tree." According to him, "the time that this has been chosen [to be discussed] simply reflects a period when the West gets mad, let’s be frank."
"We categorically cannot be satisfied with this — these are unacceptable approaches," he remarked.
The diplomat also took aim at Brussels, claiming that the EU is "now actively promoting their plans to send a military coaching mission to Ukraine." He accused the bloc of wanting to "contribute to the training of...anti-Russian units."
Lavrov’s remarks come amid increasingly strained relations between East and West. On Wednesday, NATO representatives and Russian diplomats met to discuss security on the European continent, which was preceded by talks between officials from Washington and Moscow.
The US-led military bloc’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Wednesday that the organization was ready to schedule "a series of meetings on various topics, including restrictions on missile weapons in Europe," with the Russian side. However, he made it clear NATO would not would not back down, and compromise on what it considers to be its core values, to meet Moscow’s demands.
Stoltenberg insisted that "only Ukraine and 30 allies can decide when Ukraine becomes a member ... Russia does not have a veto," referring to one of its requests to guarantee that Kiev will not join NATO’s ranks.
Last month, Moscow handed over two draft treaties — one to Washington and the other to NATO — which included a request for assurances from NATO concerning the movement of military personnel and hardware, as well as calls on the organization to refrain from further enlargement close to Russia’s borders.