Russia is prepared for an armed conflict with NATO countries, but whether it will start or not depends on the North Atlantic Alliance, stated Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
"The choice is entirely on NATO's side. We are ready, as has already been demonstrated, to defend our national interests by all available means," Ryabkov said in an interview with Izvestia.
He warned NATO countries that they have chosen a "dangerous path." "People who continue to test our strength apparently believe that there are no limits to their own 'gambling,' the game of raising the stakes. But they may find themselves among the losers," Ryabkov noted.
The senior representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also ruled out the restoration of relations between Russia and NATO "in the foreseeable future." "We were ready to negotiate only on an equal and mutually respectful basis, which has always been a problem for the North Atlantic Alliance and its member countries. Now, against the backdrop of what is happening, I cannot even imagine a situation and context in which this would be possible," Ryabkov explained.
The day before, the diplomat accused the US leadership of seeking to change the government in Russia and wanting to create turmoil. He warned that further escalation could lead to the severance of Russian-American diplomatic relations. At the same time, he believes that a successful conclusion of the war in Ukraine for the Russian government "will be a prerequisite for the US to adjust its thinking towards Russia."
Earlier, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) released a report "Preventing the Next War", in which the authors predicted a war between NATO countries and Russia in the next 6-10 years.
According to experts, Moscow will need no more than 10 years to rebuild its army for an attack on NATO after the end of intensive combat operations in Ukraine. "Even after almost two years of war in Ukraine, Russia's military potential is higher than it seems," the report's authors noted.
To prevent war, NATO countries must show Russia that conflict with the bloc is hopeless for Moscow. Experts suggest quickly increasing the military potential of EU countries and openly informing Russia about this. NATO's restructuring should be completed at least a year before Russia is ready for war with the alliance on its territory, the experts concluded.