Moscow has pledged to monitor Nato moves on Russia’s borders, warning to take necessary measures in response to the security risks arising from the Western military alliance’s build-up.
Russia’s Ambassador to Nato Alexander Grushko
made the remarks on Friday following a meeting by the bloc’s foreign ministers in the Belgian capital, Brussels.
Grushko said NATO’s new planning in Europe will be taken into account and “all the necessary military-technical measures will be taken to limit the risks related to the new configuration of forces that has appeared on our (Russia’s) borders."
The Russian envoy further called for a qualitative review of NATO’s relations with Moscow, criticizing the coalition for boosting its military activity in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.
NATO is seeking “to project its military force onto us using constant rotations, endless drills, the creation of additional groups and the position of missile defense facilities along our borders,” he said.
The remarks came one day after NATO foreign ministers finalized the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they called a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia.
NATO foreign ministers attend a meeting at the headquarters of the western military alliance in Brussels, Belgium, May 19, 2016. ©Reuters
Last week, officials from the US and NATO also declared a missile system based in southern Romania operational. The missiles’ activation marked the penultimate step in the completion of a so-called missile shield, which Washington proposed nearly a decade ago.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Grushko said there is no sign of NATO’s readiness to return to normal interaction with Russia.
He further warned that the alliance will hurt its own interests if it continues with its policy of combining deterrence and dialogue in its approach to Russia.
NATO has stepped up its military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.
Moscow has on many occasions slammed NATO’s expansion near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.
Earlier this week, NATO formally invited Montenegro to become its 29th member, a decision that must still be approved by the US Senate, as well as the bloc’s other 27 parliaments and Montenegro’s own legislature. The Kremlin condemned NATO's further expansion, saying the invitation to Montenegro risked fuelling geopolitical tensions across Europe.