Following a CSTO meeting, Russia announced that it expects explanations about NATO plans to deploy troops in Eastern Europe, warns about “terrorists” plans to obstruct chemical weapons shipments in Syria, and expresses grave concerns about the Turkish and western-backed ethnic cleansing of Armenian Syrians in Lattakia
Following a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Foreign Ministers’ Council in Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Russia expects detailed explanations about NATO’s expansion of its military presence in Eastern Europe. Lavrov also warned about reports about “terrorists” attempts to obstruct the removal of chemical weapons from Syria.
Russia also expressed concerns over the ethnic cleansing of Armenian Syrians in Syria’s Lattakia province and the city of Kessab. Russia’s National Security Council announced that CSTO Chief Nikolai Borduzha is scheduled to meet Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Armenian NSC Secretary General Artur Baghdasaryan.
Lavrov us blackmailRussia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov presided today, over a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Foreign Ministers’ Council in Moscow. The meeting, that reportedly focused on the situation in the CSTO region, came one day after NATO suspended its coöperation with Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Crimea’s accession into the Russian Federation, and after NATO announced that it increases its military presence in Eastern Europe.
Following a separate, joint briefing with Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov, Lavrov stressed that NATO is violating the 1997 treaty on coöperation between NATO and Russia and said:
“We have addressed questions to the North Atlantic military alliance. We are not only expecting answers, but answers that will be based fully on respect for the rules we have agreed on”.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, for his part, rejected that he had received any questions from Moscow and denounces Russia for “propaganda and disinformation”, reports the Russian TV channel Russia Today (RT).
Fogh Rasmussen claimed that NATO was not violating the 1997 Founding Act by boosting its military presence in Eastern Europe and said that the accusations are “based on a wrong interpretation”.
Following a meeting of NATO’s foreign ministers on Tuesday, April 1, the foreign ministers issued a joint press release, accusing Russia of military aggression against Ukraine, while the NATO Secretary General warned Russia “not to make a mistake”, saying:
“NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our territory and our people. And make no mistake about it, that is what we will do”.
Rasmussen stressed that NATO is considering “revised operational plans, military maneuvers and adequate troop reinforcements.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that NATO has been violating the Montreux Convention, which stipulates, that naval vessels of non-Black Sea countries are prohibited from staying in Black Sea waters for more than 21 days. Lavrov said:
“US warships have recently extended their presence in the Black Sea several times. … This extension didn’t always obey the rules of the Montreux Convention.”
Lavrov’s statement, was particularly aimed at the presence of the destroyer USS Truxtun which began joint military exercises in the Black Sea with the navies of Bulgaria and Romania.
Lavrov also responded to western criticism about an alleged presence of Russian troops along the Russian – Ukrainian border, saying that the European Union and Kiev should not stir up a conflict over Russian drills launched in the south of Russia.
Western media, including the Wall Street Journal and the BBC have along with many others, been caught red-handed in using photos of Russian military exercises elsewhere in Russia, in some cases, several months old images, claiming that Russia amasses large troop concentrations along the border to the Ukraine.
Russia has afforded Kiev military overflights of the border with military surveillance aircraft. Kiev has not made use of the offer while the propaganda about Russian troops, massing along Ukraine’s border continued.
Kiev has also been offered additional inspections of the border, beside the three inspections it is afforded by Russian – Ukrainian agreements per year because Kiev already used up the three inspections since the beginning of 2014.
Lavrov stressed that Russia has the right to move forces on Russian territory and that any troops would return to their bases after completing their exercises. Lavrov said, “There are no restrictions on Russia’s troop displacement on Russian territory”.
Courtesy of RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Ankov
In February, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered combat readiness drills for Russia’s central and western troops. Russia’s Defense Ministry launched a military exercise involving some 8,500 troops and large amounts of armored vehicles, missile launchers as well as airborne troops in its southern military sector in March. These drills have widely been denounced as a Russian troop buildup along the Ukraine’s borders by western media and governments.
Addressing the situation in Syria at the CSTO foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov said that Russia has obtained information that terrorists intend to obstruct the removal of chemical weapons from Syria, saying:
“There have been reports about terrorist threats associated with the removal and further destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. We take such information very seriously and work with our American colleagues on a daily basis so that they could use all their influence (with the opposition) to prevent such provocations”.
Lavrov stressed that he did not see any effective measures being taken by external actors to stop the terrorist threat in Syria, adding that “our position is that terrorist manifestations must be stopped immediately”. The Syrian government had a several occasions warned that Saudi Arabia provides high-level intelligence about chemical weapons shipments to Jabhat al-Nusrah and Liwa-al-Islam, resulting in attacks on highly classified facilities, exactly, as the joint UN-OPCW-Syrian teams were readying shipments.
Kessab_SyriaRussia and the CSTO are also concerned about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christian Armenian Syrians in Syria’s Lattakia province. On March 21, thousands of Jabhat al-Nusral fighters swarmed across the Turkish – Syrian borders, launching a major campaign, supported by Turkish artillery, tank and missile fire against Syrian army positions.
The city of Kessab, where about 70 percent of the population is ethnic Armenian Syrians, has been literally emptied of residents by the Turkish, Saudi and western-backed terrorist brigades.
Russia’s National Security Council announced today, that CSTO Chief Nikolai Borduzha is scheduled to meet Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Armenian NSC Secretary General Artur Baghdasaryan, to discuss the situation of ethnic Armenian Syrians in the Lattakia province of Syria.