07 February / 2015


(Excerpts fr om Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech during debates
at the 51st   Munich security conference, Munich, February 7, 2015)

The structure of stability, based on the UN Charter and the Helsinki principles, has long been undermined by bombings of the Unites States and its allies in Yugoslavia, their interventions in Iraq and Libya, NATO’s eastward expansion and the creation of new divisive lines. The  “common European home” project failed because the Western countries were guided by illusions and convictions of being winners in the Cold War rather than interests in building open security architecture based on mutual respect of interests. The obligations not to ensure one’s own security at the expense of the others, solemnly given in the framework of the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council, remained on paper and were ignored in practice.

The missile defense problem is the vivid evidence of the powerful destructive influence of unilateral steps in military build-up sphere contrary to legitimate interests of other states. Russian proposals on joint efforts in anti-missile field were rejected. In exchange we were advised to join in the US global missile defence system building which really endangers Russian nuclear deterrent forces.

Every action which undermines strategic stability inevitably causes retaliatory measures. Thus long-term damage is inflicted on the whole system of international arms control treaties and their viability directly depends on the missile defense factor.

It was the United States which initiated this destructive process having withdrawn from the ABM Treaty in 2002 which has been the foundation of strategic stability for three decades. Withdrawal was instigated by Washington plans to deploy the US strategic missile defense "third position area" in Europe, which elements were expected to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Subsequently, the "third position area" was replaced by the "phased adaptive approach" in missile defense which actually was a continuation of the US course after its unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. As missile technologies are bound to be improved and new missile defense facilities to be deployed in Romania, Poland and European waters, this  becomes more dangerous, directly affecting Russian interests.

Other regions of the world are also affected by the US missile defense destabilising effect. After Europe the US seeks to involve more and more participants in the global missile defense regional "segments". Japan and Australia have already been involved  in the same work in the Asian-Pacific region by Washington. Growing pressure is put on the Republic of Korea, wh ere the US THAAD complexes are planned to be deployed.

The US missile defence gets information from the radar located in Israel and US companies together with Israeli ones are developing new weapon systems. Persian Gulf countries are provided with new anti-missile deliveries.

Meanwhile the group of GBI strategic missiles in the continental USA is strengthening, plans for its further build-up are in progress. Information systems including space ones are being improved. Missile defense testing is intensively being implemented. The missile defense naval group is expected to include about 40 warships with hundreds of interceptors.

Missile defense systems deployed by the USA and its allies all over the world are not local and exclusively defensive. These are integral parts of a global US project aimed at ensuring the US invulnerability. It means that the US will have the opportunity to threaten the countries which wouldn’t agree with Washington and refuse to pursue an American course.

Another destabilising factor derives from the fact that the US and other NATO members-states failed to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which buried this treaty.

At the same time Washington is attempting to lay blame on Russia. The actions of the US, which contradict the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (the INF Treaty), are well-known facts. For instance, as part of the creation of a global missile defence system, Washington commissioned a large-scale programme of creating target missiles with characteristics similar or close to land-based ballistic missiles, prohibited by the INF treaty. Unmanned fighting vehicles, widely utilised by the US, fall within the treaty’s definition of intermediate-range cruise land-based missiles. The treaty directly prohibits ABM launchers, which will soon be deployed in Romania and Poland, because they can be used to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles. While refusing to acknowledge these facts, our US colleagues assert they have some “substantiated” claims against Russia with respect to the INF Treaty, but diligently avoid specifics.

The aggressive course pursued by the Western countries for the last 25 years to preserve their domination in world affairs by all possible means and seize geopolitical space in Europe has reached its peak. They demanded that the CIS countries – our closest neighbours, connected with us by centuries economically, historically, culturally and even in terms of family ties – make a choice: “either with the West or against the West.”

The strategic partnership of Russia and the European Union failed the test of strength, as the EU chose a path of confrontation over the development of mutually beneficial interaction mechanisms. To this regard the missed opportunity to implement Chancellor Merkel’s initiative put forward in June 2010 in Meseberg to create a EU-Russia Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs at the level of foreign ministers is in the focus. Russia backed that idea but the European Union rejected it. Meanwhile, this constant dialogue mechanism, if it were to be set up, would allow problems to be solved faster and more effectively, mutual concerns to be resolved in a timely manner.

We are still confident that the overall complex of issues could be resolved much more easily, if the main political forces of the world agreed on strategic landmarks in their relations.

Russia has long been proposing the creation of a common economic and humanitarian space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, based on the principles of equal and inseparable security that would encompass both members of integration unions and those nations that are not part of them. Setting up reliable interaction mechanisms between the EAEU and the EU is especially topical.

On the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act and the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Paris, Russia calls for infusing documents with real life, for preventing the substitution of the principles they contain, for ensuring stability and prosperity in the whole of the Euro-Atlantic space based on true equality, mutual respect and consideration for each others’ interests.

Now it is necessary to reaffirm the Helsinki principles and agree upon a new security system that would be comfortable for all countries of the world.