In the Russian state media, threatening war language is heard every day. This week is being portrayed as the moment of truth: will NATO respect Russia and comply with the full package of demands? And if not, is the West ready for the ‘military-technical’ consequences?
Optimists hoped for new agreements on arms control or on advance notification of military exercises. That would take some of the pressure off the kettle. But Moscow doesn’t seem to want to budge and puts all the responsibility on the West.
It is feared that after these failed talks, Russia may say, “You see, we’ve tried diplomatically in every way, but the West doesn’t give us any security guarantees. So they leave us no choice but to defend ourselves.” In order to possibly take further steps towards Ukraine.
At the press conference, Lavrov touched on a few other topics, such as the strengthened ties between Belarus and Russia and the planned union state, which is now “90 percent complete”. The relationship with China was discussed (“we have unique ties to China and we defend our national interests hand in hand”) and press freedom (“why was the west silent when our Russian state press office was attacked during the protests in Kazakhstan?” ? Press freedom is so important there, isn’t it?”)
The recent protests in Kazakhstan and the role Russia played in sending troops were also discussed. According to Lavrov, the West was “impressed with how quickly we can send troops”. He stressed that he hoped that soon Russia will not have to send troops again to “avoid a war”, but that they are ready for anything. “If you want peace, you must prepare for war”.