Russia has stopped all cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with state media on Monday.
The Western alliance suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia in the spring of 2014 in response to Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Several disputes, including a naval standoff in the Kerch Strait and the U.S. withdrawal from a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, have further strained ties between Russia and the 70-year-old bloc.
“NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It doesn’t exist,” Grushko told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Grushko, Moscow’s permanent representative at NATO between 2012 and 2018, said the current standoff mirrors the Cold War “status quo” that brought about NATO’s creation in 1947.
The diplomat warned NATO against military conflict with Russia, saying “all sensible people hope it doesn’t happen.”
“It would be a humanitarian catastrophe. I’m sure they understand that in Washington and Brussels.”
Grushko's interview comes a day after current and former U.S. military officers expressed concern that a lack of communication between Moscow and Washington could lead to nuclear war "by mistake or miscalculation."
“We are in danger of stumbling backward into a Cold War that is to no one’s advantage,” The Associated Press quoted James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral who was the top NATO commander in Europe from 2009 to 2013, as saying. “Without steady, political-level engagement between the defense establishments, the risk of a true new Cold War rises steadily.”