The claims of the Russian threat voiced by the Baltic governments are intended to solve timeserving internal political goals, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s Argumenty i Fakty weekly.
“Claims that Russia threatens the identity of the Baltic states and has certain aggressive plots against them are absurd and absolutely baseless,” the minister said.
“However, we are fully aware that reasons behind such statements are purely political and timeserving: apparently, this is how they are trying to solve internal problems and mobilize the electorate through promoting the image of an external enemy,” Lavrov added.
“Rhetoric of this kind, with calls to toughen sanctions against Russia and speculations about the ‘Russian military threat,’ combined with unfriendly conduct within the international framework, creates a negative background for bilateral affairs,” Russia’s top diplomat said.
Lavrov went on to say that “longstanding sources of tensions, including those related to unfavorable humanitarian situation and discrimination of the Russian-speaking population in these states” also persist, despite recommendations and critical reports from leading international organizations.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to the issues that are so sensitive in the Russian society, such as government-backed attempts of the above-mentioned states to extort history, glorify Nazism and their local abettors,” he said.
“At the same time, we see no absolute obstacles for making Russia’s relations with the Baltic states develop in the spirit of neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Lavrov added. “We are always ready for a dialogue based on mutual respect, as well as for a joint search of constructive solutions for the problems that have piled up.”.