Acrimony between NATO and Russia continues, with the latest NATO meeting of foreign ministers spending a lot of time talking about ways to really spite the Russians. The thing that seemed to irk the Russian Foreign Ministry the most, however, was the announcement of a meeting between Russian and NATO officials ahead of the July summit.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed “bewilderment” at the announcement, noting that meetings of the Russia-NATO council require consensus of both sides, and insisting that Russia was never even consulted about the possible meeting.
Since the NATO-backed regime change in Ukraine in early 2014, and the subsequent declaration of independence by Crimea and its accession into the Russian Federation, NATO and Russia have been on an increasingly hostile footing, and such meetings, once routine, have become rare and controversial.
Along with a major cutback in NATO-Russia ties, the tensions also split up the G8, the group of eight leading industrial countries that includes six NATO members. Russia was “suspended,” effectively making this the G7, though in practice G7 summits have just boiled down to everyone talking about how much they don’t like Russia and how glad they are the Russians aren’t present. Germany, one of the NATO members, today reiterated their opposition to letting Russia back in.