Alwaght- Russia has said it won’t stay inactive and we will undertake necessary steps following NATO’s military buildup in Eastern Europe.
Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, told reporters following a meeting of the Russia-NATO council on Thursday that, “Growing NATO military presence in Eastern Europe undermines stability in the region. We state that it represents a strategy for getting NATO’s military infrastructure closer to our borders,” Grushko added. “Russia won’t stay inactive and we will undertake necessary steps to boldly defend our interests.”
The envoy added that, “Scares and speculations” surrounding Russian military drills are a smokescreen for NATO’s military buildup in Eastern Europe, where the alliance is effectively mastering a potential new battlefield.
“We pointed out that while a lot of insinuations, completely unjustified from our point of view, are being spread around the Zapad-2017 drills, NATO’s funneling of arms and materiel into its eastern flank is going unnoticed,” Russia’s permanent representative to NATO noted.
“"From June to November, NATO will hold over 15 drills in Eastern Europe and approximately the same number in the Black Sea region," he said. "If a total number of their participants is counted, it will be over 40,000 people."
NATO drills ignite hysteria
During the meeting, the sides exchanged information on upcoming military drills, including the joint Russian-Belarusian exercise Zapad-2017 and NATO’s Trident exercises. The drills have already caused hysteria in several countries neighboring Belarus, including Lithuania, as one of its spy agencies released a report alleging that the drills will be used as a cover-up for an invasion.
“The Russian Defense Ministry answered the NATO colleagues’ request and today our military gave a detailed briefing on these drills, providing information on their goals and objectives, test grounds where the troops will be deployed, and on the forces and materiel employed – the numbers of troops and hardware,” Grushko stated, adding that true de-escalation in Europe can be achieved only through resumed contacts between Russian and NATO militaries.
Booming NATO activities are a part of a broader strategy for “getting NATO’s military infrastructure closer to our borders,”Grushko said.
Theatre of military operations
“It’s clear for us that such activities not only ensure a reinforced military presence of the allies in the immediate vicinity of Russia's borders but in fact represent an intensive mastering of the potential theater of military operations, accompanied by the development of the necessary infrastructure.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has also firmly denied the notion of the Zapad-2017 drills being used as a pretext for invasion, praising Russia for providing data on troops and hardware to participate and the upcoming drills.
Putin says Russia response will be tougher, effective
Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to give an adequate response to NATO's expansion in order to maintain a strategic balance, according to an interview released on Wednesday.
"This is another great strategic mistake made by our partners, because Russia will give an adequate answer to all these actions," Putin said in an interview with US film director Oliver Stone.
He said Russia faced two threats, one of which was the deployment of ballistic anti-missiles in Eastern European countries in the vicinity of Russia's borders.
The other threat was that the launchers of anti-missiles could be transformed into attack systems in a matter of minutes or hours, Putin said.
According to him, these systems were being deployed not only in Eastern Europe, but also aboard ships on duty in the Mediterranean and the northern seas, as well as in Alaska, thus encircling all Russia's territory.
"This will mean nothing else but a new cycle of arms race," Putin said.
Russia will take all necessary steps to respond to NATO's expansion, the president said.
"Our response will be much cheaper, maybe somehow tougher, but it will be effective. And we will preserve this so-called strategic balance. Balance is a very important thing," he said.