Colonel General Valery Manilov, the former first deputy chief of the General Staff and presently a Federation Council member, has sharply criticised NATO plans of eastward expansion. While speaking at a session of the working group of the Russian parliament and NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Manilov named the North Atlantic Alliance a "relic of a previous era". According to Manilov, "an essential, not camouflage transformation of NATO is required". "NATO lacks capability to organize an efficient struggle against the new challenges and threats in the security sphere, such as terrorism," Manilov stated. Therefore, NATO expansion is "nonsense", according to him. "We do not fear NATO expansion, we are wary of new dividing lines in Europe," Manilov emphasized.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart