Russia: Western ‘ideological attacks’ behind message of ‘Russian aggression’– Lavrov at BEAC

Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov lambasted Western media for their reporting on Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 drills held last month during press conference in Arkhangelsk following the ministerial session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), Thursday. «They [drills] were labelled offensive and non-transparent, although Russia together with Belarus, long before the exercise, invited... Еще observers from foreign countries, including NATO countries to the field trainings, said Russian diplomat, continuing, «this ideological attack, an attempt to drill the message of Russia's aggressiveness into the mind of every citizen continues.» He went on to mention a «tale» published by mass media regarding Russian troops' alleged stationing in Belarus after the end of Zapad-2017 exercises. «It's sad that adults are engaged in fooling their voters,» concluded the Russian FM. Lavrov also commented on Norwegian restrictions for Russian citizens on Spitsbergen Island, calling for «more constructive» dialogue on the Spitsbergen Treaty. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs Borge Brende joked that he would not bring up NATO and Russia on his last day in office. «Then of course we could start a big debate about NATO and Russia. I will not do that, especially not on my last day in this job,» he said before continuing, “Russia has doubled its defence budget since 2005, but we're dealing with this. We know that these unique military capabilities that are on the Kola Peninsula are not military capabilities addressing Norway.» The Council of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region was established as a forum for regional cooperation in 1993. It consists of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland and Sweden, as well as the Commission of the European Communities.

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