Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused NATO of resisting offers to re-establish ties with Russia, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.
Lavrov, speaking in Ekaterinburg with his German counterpart Frank Walter Shteinmeier, claimed that NATO “did not wish to discuss reestablishing relations” and had ignored Russia's attempts to improve ties.
“The NATO-Russia council has hit a dead end. The round of embassy meetings which took place have changed nothing,” he said.
He also claimed that Russia had proposed concrete steps to reestablishing military cooperation “with the aim of raising trust” during last month’s meeting of the Russia-NATO council.
Lavrov also claimed that it was fully NATO’s decision to suspend the NATO-Russia council in 2008, following Russia’s military incursion into Georgia in August of that year.
“By the beginning of winter, our Western colleagues had recognized that it was a mistake, saying that the council should work in any weather, especially during a crisis,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced ahead of last month's NATO-Russia council meeting that Moscow would attempt to open up a dialogue with NATO, despite the alliance ongoing "expansion" towards Russia’s border.
Following the meeting, NATO General Secretary Lens Stoltenberg said that both sides still held contrasting views over the situation in Ukraine. He also identified Russia and terrorism as NATO’s two biggest threats, saying that Russia’s “illegal seizure of Crimea” in 2014 and continuing involvement in the Ukraine conflict had seriously threatened European security.