Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed Friday that the EU and NATO are gathering a “coalition” to “essentially” prepare for a war with Russia.
Commenting on Ukraine and Moldova joining the EU, Lavrov said the EU is not a military-political bloc, therefore, unlike NATO, the development of its relations with other countries does not create any threats or risks for Russia.
However, Russia perceives the rhetoric of the union had been increasingly aggressive and “Russophobic,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Baku.
The European Union, together with NATO, is gathering a sort of modern coalition to fight, essentially, a war with the Russian Federation,” Lavrov said, adding Russia will “monitor this very closely.”
The European Council granted Ukraine and Moldova EU candidacy status on Thursday in a bid to show support for the two countries in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The question of Ukraine and Moldova joining the EU was labelled “internal European affairs” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, also on Friday. However, he added that it is crucial that a decision on the matter does not further affect Russia’s relations with the two countries or the European bloc.
“These are, of course, internal European affairs,” Peskov told reporters on a regular conference call.
He added, however: “It is crucial for us that all these processes do not bring more problems to us and to the relations of the above-mentioned countries with us. And that it doesn’t lead to a further deterioration of our relations with the EU.”
Peskov’s comments echo the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin who said last Friday that Russia “has nothing against” Ukraine entering the EU as it is the “sovereign decision of any country” to join an economic bloc.