Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed the European Union’s efforts to increase its presence and influence in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, regions that Moscow considers as its strategic backyard.
In an interview with the Russian state own-TV on Sunday, Lavrov said that the EU was not hiding its intentions to push Russia out of these areas, but that these attempts were futile.
Lavrov’s remarks came amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over the ongoing Russia Special Military Operation (RSMO) in Ukraine, which has entered its second year.
Lavrov, however, claimed that the EU’s actions were not motivated by genuine interests, but by a desire to undermine Russia’s role and interests in the region. He accused the EU of interfering in the internal affairs of these countries, and of trying to lure them away from their traditional ties with Russia.
He also warned that the EU’s involvement could destabilize the region, which is already facing various challenges and conflicts, such as the border dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the ethnic tensions in Kazakhstan, and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.