The biggest military buildup along Russia’s borders since the Cold War by the supposedly defensive alliance is not bolstering European security, but is instead creating additional “obvious risks” for it, Aleksandr Grushko said on Thursday, following the Wednesday meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels.
“Military specialists from the alliance’s member states are implementing the decisions of the Warsaw summit [in July] and are fulfilling their confrontational schemes of military planning and military preparations in the territories along our borders,” the Russian diplomat said. “Thus, as part of reinforcing the so-called eastern flank of the alliance, it is forming battalion-level reinforced multinational contingents which will be deployed in the Baltic countries and Poland in early 2017. Moreover, they consider deployment of some ‘framework’ brigade in Romania, and some specific options for enlarging NATO’s presence in the Black Sea.”
Such actions put at risk the viability of Russia-NATO Founding Act, according to Grushko.
“NATO and primarily the United States are actively reclaiming the aquatorium of the Black Sea with their multifunctional combat platforms having a serious offensive and anti-missile potential,” while “intimidating the public with movements of Russian ships in the international waters,” said Grushko.
The ongoing cruise of the Russian Northern Fleet’s naval group, including Russia’s only aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, has caused an unprecedented hysteria in NATO military circles and sent media into a spin. For example, some unnamed senior NATO diplomat somehow deducted that Russia has “deployed all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” as reported by Reuters. Some European states even promised to “intercept” the flotilla.
The Russian Navy group is travelling for the eastern Mediterranean to “ensure naval presence” and pay “particular attention to ensuring the safety of maritime navigation and other maritime economic activities of the Russian Federation, as well as respond to new types of modern threats such as piracy and international terrorism,” the Russian Navy said in an official statement.
Meanwhile, NATO’s military activities in the Black Sea region, are a clear “projection of force” and do not have any value for “carrying out anti-terrorist missions,” according to Grushko.
“Apart from that, they are making front-rank stockpiles of weapons and hardware in Eastern Europe region, modernizing infrastructure for deployment of large army units, conducting an endless chain of drills – both ground, sea and air – right at the Russian borders,” said Grushko.
NATO activities in the region won’t stay unanswered, the Russian diplomat said.
“So, a question arises: What’s next? A new wave of NATO’s speculations about the ‘Russian threat’ and a new round of arms race?” Grushko wondered. “We believe this is a road to nowhere.”