Russia's Lavrov warns EU becoming militarized now, like NATO

Russia's top diplomat warned Tuesday that the European Union "is becoming militarized at a record rate" and aggressive in its goal of containing Russia.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference he has no doubts that there is now "very little difference" between the EU and NATO.

Lavrov said they recently signed a declaration, which he said essentially states that the 31-member NATO military alliance will ensure the security of the 27-member EU political and economic organization.

He was apparently referring to a Jan. 19 EU-NATO declaration on their "strategic partnership" which calls Russia's Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine "the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades."

It calls the present moment "a key juncture for Euro-Atlantic security and stability" and urges closer EU-NATO cooperation to confront evolving security threats, saying this will contribute to strengthening security in Europe and beyond. And it encourages the fullest possible involvement of NATO members that don't belong to the EU and EU members that aren't part of NATO, but it does not state that NATO will ensure the security of the EU.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained about NATO's expansion, especially toward his country, and partly used that as a justification for invading Ukraine.

The Russian attack, however, sent fear through its other neighbors, and Finland joined NATO earlier this month, seeking protection under its security umbrella after decades of neutrality following its defeat by the former Soviet Union in World War II.

While NATO says it poses no threat to Russia, the Nordic country's accession dealt a major political blow to Putin.

Finland's membership doubles Russia's border with...

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