Excerpts from the Briefing by Foreign Minister Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

May 26, 2016

Answers to media questions

Question: I’d like to ask about President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima tomorrow. A US president has never visited that city before. President Obama said that he does not intend to apologise for the 1945 atomic bombings. Answering Japanese media questions, he said he hoped that Moscow would be interested in further cutting the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Maria Zakharova
: I think Russia is currently one of the most responsible actors in the disarmament process. It demonstrates the utmost responsibility toward its obligations as a nuclear power. So such assessments are out of place in this case if what you say is accurate. We always expect concrete facts not just statements from the US. If they have specific concerns, they can always notify us through the available communication channels. It’s America’s problem that they have frozen such channels, including those intended for special topics. I reiterate, if they have any questions, they can always ask our experts in that field.

As for President Obama’s visit to Japan and offering apologies, I think this question would be better put to Americans. People should remember their history. It does matter. In the context of your question, it is tremendously important for the Japanese to remember their history. It is of the utmost importance to know history and not to revise it. One must know what happened and why, and what consequences it brought. That’s the main thing.

Question: Can you comment on the recent build-up of NATO activity in the South Caucasus, primarily Georgia?

Maria Zakharova: Let’s be frank: why limit the question to the South Caucasus? NATO is building up its activity everywhere. I believe there is no place on the map where the North Atlantic bloc has not built up its activity. First, the biggest problem is not that it is building up its activity, which is its mission, but that it is doing this in the regions where nothing threatens it or its member states. Second, another problem is that NATO is not building up its activity where there is a threat. This is the biggest mystery. Why is it not working to deal with real threats or to increase its capacities to fight against, say, terrorism? At the same time, NATO is increasing its capabilities, manpower and technical levels in regions that are in no way connected with the threat that has become a reality in Europe – international terrorism. We cannot find answers to these questions or receive them from NATO. Instead, they said that all these activities were not spearheaded against us. But it has recently transpired that these activities are part of a containment policy toward Russia. On the one hand, this is on their consciousness. On the other hand, we can’t just sit back, because these activities are disrupting the balance of our common space. But even this is not the main point. What matters is that the huge NATO machinery, with its cutting-edge weapons and equipment, is being deployed to regions where nothing is threating the bloc, with complete disregard for existing and quite real threats.