Russia is not a threat to the West (by Ambassador Yakovenko, for RT)

On 31 December, 2015 President Vladimir Putin signed the update National Security Strategy 2016. It is an updated key strategic planning document.

In contrast to the recently published National Security Strategy of the United States, which defines military supremacy as a main tool of maintaining their 'global leadership', the Russian Strategy emphasizes the importance of strategic stability and mutually beneficial partnerships based on the principles of international law. It reflects the objective process of a new polycentric world order taking shape, global and regional instability on the rise.

The strategy confirms the continuity of Russian foreign policy, based on the respect for independence and sovereignty, pragmatism, transparency, multi-vector policy and non-confrontational protection of national interests. The use of military force to protect national interests is only possible if all other means have been exhausted.

Russia attaches great importance to ensuring sustainable global development, which requires collective leadership coupled with the central and coordinating role of the UN. To these ends, Russia will actively support further economic integration within the Eurasian Economic Union, enhance its participation in such fora as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, strengthen bilateral relations with China and India, other countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and Africa.

The document acknowledges the complex environment, in which Russia is set to protect and promote its interests and security. The anti-Russian sanctions, imposed by the West under the false pretext and attempts to put pressure upon us on international affairs make part of it. It is worth mentioning the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine supported by the US and EU, that led to a deep schism in the Ukrainian society and an armed conflict in the East. The consolidation of an extreme right nationalist ideology and vilification of Russia as an enemy turned Ukraine into a long-term source of European just next to Russia's borders.

Despite some speculations in the Western media over Russia considering NATO a threat. But it is NATO actions, not the tired alliance itself, that could directly or indirectly harm Russia's national interests. The buildup of NATO's military potential, increased military activity and continued expansion to the East, and deployment of its military infrastructure closer to Russia's borders are the threat to our security. Our assessments are based on real NATO moves and military planning aimed at changing the current European balance of powers. Just a few examples to mention: additional troops and military equipment are deployed from NATO member-countries to regions bordering with Russia to conduct military exercises; forward-based command and staff units continue to be established; naval formations patrolling the Baltic Sea have been beefed up; and NATO member-states maintain their permanent naval presence in the Black Sea.

On the contrary, Russia, according to the Strategy, is ready to build a relationship with NATO on the basis of equality and common interests in strengthening the security in the Euro-Atlantic region. That's why we have always spoken in favour of strengthening the arms control regimes, the cooperation in the fight against terrorism and promoting confidence-building measures and settlement of regional conflicts. Of course, the depth and content of these relations will depend on the alliance's reciprocal readiness to take Russia's legitimate interests into account while respecting the norms of international law.

Russia's approach to national security is based on the principle of equal and indivisible security for all regardless of political and ideological affiliation of the states. Regrettably the West forgot the Russian proposal to create a pan-European security zone by adopting a European Security Treaty which is on the table.