President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Our relations with NATO have not been easy since the armed conflict in South Ossetia and the aggression carried out by Georgia. Relations have taken a sharp turn for the worse, and we are not to blame. I would like to hear your views on how the situation is likely to develop.
Russian Permanent Envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) DMITRY ROGOZIN: I can report to you on the situation with Russia’s cooperation with the NATO member countries, and also on our proposals for changing the extent, quality and timetable of this cooperation in connection with the position NATO took during the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In our view, NATO has applied a policy of double standards to Russia’s actions and has in a sense departed from the spirit of the partnership that had existed in our relations up till then. I am ready to make specific proposals right away.
Dmitry Medvedev: We worked consistently to develop our relations with NATO for quite a long time. We would like to have a full-fledged partnership. What we do not want is an illusion of partnership, when NATO surrounds us with its bases and takes in more and more countries, while telling us, “don’t worry, everything is fine”. Of course we do not like this. All the more so when faced with such restrictive acts as those that have taken place recently. We did not provoke them and did not seek them. But speaking seriously, the NATO member countries have greater interest in this cooperation than does the Russian Federation. If they sever these ties of cooperation, essentially it would have no real effect on us. We are ready to look at any solution, up to and including breaking off relations in full, though this would of course be the most difficult development of events. I simply hope that our partners will reflect on this.