Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Wednesday to unite international efforts against the global challenges, including regional armed conflicts, the risks of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, activities of cross-border criminal groups, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and international terrorism.

The global character of the challenges demands that all states join their efforts and work, based on international law and the UN Charter goals and principles, Putin said in his address to the participants of the Moscow Conference on International Security.

Putin stressed that the UN, created to prevent a new world war, has been and remains the foundation of the international relations system.

Russia, for its part, proposed to develop a new “security equation,” that would take into account “all the factors influencing strategic stability in their interconnection” and would lift mutual concerns, Putin noted.

Moscow’s major security concern is over the continuous build-up of NATO’s military potentials and infrastructure in the vicinity of Russian borders, as well as the alliance’s unwillingness to consider “in a constructive manner” Russia’s proposals on de-escalating the tension and reducing the risk of unpredictable incidents, the president said.

Putin also paid attention to the importance of regional conflicts’ settlement, adding that his country never forgets its responsibility for the security and prosperity of neighboring countries.

Security situation in Europe

Echoing Putin, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said the security situation in Europe is “explosive” and requires de-escalation.

The minister regretted that NATO rejected Russia’s proposals about non-holding military exercises near each other’s borders and announcing a moratorium for the deployment of intermediate- and short-range missiles that can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads.

Shoygu suggested organizing cross-inspections for checking the missile sites to restore trust and resolve mutual concerns, and to improve the legal framework for preventing incidents in the actions of aircraft and ship crews.

According to Shoygu, there is a steady trend in Europe to strengthen the military confrontation with Russia, and some countries, particularly Ukraine, intentionally push NATO to an escalation with Moscow.

“The NATO summit, held in Brussels on June 14, confirmed the transformation of the bloc from a regional to a global military-political alliance, with the main task to contain Russia and China,” he said.

Shoygu added that the decisions were taken at the NATO summit on increasing the military expenses and improving the nuclear deterrence potential.

“At the same time, the formal dialogue that Brussels proposes to continue under the NATO-Russia Council does not reduce the tension in bilateral relations,” he stressed.

The minister noted that the issues of the security situation in Europe largely depend on the position of the US, the time has come to address them, taking into account the concerns and interests of each party.

For his part, Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov said the only existing arms control agreement — the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — creates conditions for continuing the dialogue on strategic stability.

He also noted that the new hypersonic and kinetic weapons that blur the edges between conventional and nuclear arms will determine the issues of strategic stability in the future.

Gerasimov mirrored Putin and Shoygu, saying NATO moves its military infrastructure towards the Russian borders: first, it carried out air patrolling, now its navy and ground forces are in action, too.

Ships equipped with high-precision long-range missile weapons operate almost on a permanent basis in the Black and Baltic Seas, flights of reconnaissance, patrol, and strike aircraft, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, are being carried out, some 10,000 people are permanently deployed in Eastern Europe, and the US continues deployment of the missile launchers, he said.

After the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Russia does not exclude that Washington can set up in Europe missiles that can reach Russia, Gerasimov said.

Gerasimov stressed that the Russian military policy has a defensive character, and his country can use nuclear weapons only in response to the use of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, or in case of aggression that questions the very existence of Russia.

He also promised that Russia remains committed to the non-proliferation of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons and will work on creating a comprehensible and sustainable security system.

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