NATO military buildup in Europe unprecedentedly dangerous: Russia
Russia has strongly criticized as “unprecedentedly dangerous” NATO military buildup in Eastern Europe, saying it violates a treaty between Moscow and the alliance.
“NATO buildup on the eastern flank, or in the so-called ‘front-line countries,’ is an unprecedentedly dangerous step that violates all agreements, including the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which is still in force,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said at a news conference on Thursday.
He said that NATO’s eastward expansion clearly violates a Russia-NATO treaty signed in May 1997, which forbids the trans-Atlantic alliance from permanently stationing troops in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks during a debate of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittee on Security and Defense, in Brussels on March 30, 2015. ©AFP
NATO says the move is temporary. But it has not clarified when it will withdraw troops from the region.
Russia’s strong criticism of NATO comes as the military alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that the bloc was undergoing its largest troop increase since the end of the Cold War.
In February, the defense ministers of NATO’s 28 member states also agreed that the organization would enhance its Response Force in Eastern European to include around 30,000 troops to “ensure that we have the right forces, in the right place, at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Romania has expressed readiness to host NATO’s heavy military equipment as Prime Minister Victor Ponta said this week that Bucharest is willing to get involved in hosting “any kind of capabilities decided within NATO.”
Russia has repeatedly condemned NATO’s military buildup toward its borders.