Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that any NATO military presence in Central Asia will undermine the security of the Russian-led bloc in the region.
The minister made his comment at an Afghanistan-themed summit in Tunxi, China.
“We believe it’s unacceptable to have any US and NATO military infrastructure, or their Afghan helpers, on the territory of neighboring states, especially in Central Asia,” Lavrov said, adding that “such designs go against the security interests of our countries.”
He added that the existence of Western military sites would contradict the interests of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led regional bloc.
The Russian official also called for “extreme caution” regarding the settlement of Afghan refugees in states bordering Afghanistan. He argued countries should consider “high risks” for their own security and the region as a whole.