Russia will take all security measures in response to NATO decision to reinforce its eastern borders - Moscow envoy
Russia will take all of the political and military-technical measures needed to reliably protect its security in response to any decisions that might be made by NATO to reinforce its eastern frontiers.
"We know that military officials of the alliance have actually been instructed to present plans intended to step up defense before the [NATO] summit in Wales in September this year. In principle, the fact that NATO is paying great attention to defense along its eastern borders is not new to us," Russia's envoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said, when commenting on the results of the latest two-day meeting of the alliance's foreign ministers in Brussels.
"The military exploration of the territories of NATO's East European member countries has been completed. Their infrastructure allows [NATO] to use this potential for reinforcement. In particular, airfields and the network of ports have been modernized, and the Baltic countries and Poland were fully integrated into NATO's defense plans in 2009. Last year, they hosted the Steadfast Jazz exercises, which focused on a simulated operation to restore territorial integrity in the event of external aggression. They were governed by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. It is a 100 percent scenario for an epoch of confrontation. Apart from that, military bases were established in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, missile defense facilities are now being set up in Romania and Poland, and air patrols over the Baltic countries have become a permanent feature. At the same time, NATO countries seek to reaffirm that all of these measures are in line with their obligations as part of the Russia-NATO Fundamental Act to refrain from any additional deployment of any considerable military forces on a permanent basis," Grushko said.
"It is important to note that the concerns being voiced today by the alliance's countries are totally groundless and unfounded. Furthermore, it is a question of strengthening military potential in the district adjacent to our Kaliningrad region. In recent years, Russia has made a large contribution to measures aimed at enhancing its [the district's] security by significantly reducing the level of weapons. In particular, we have withdrawn hundreds of units of heavy ordnance, including tanks, artillery systems and armored personnel carriers, and have reduced the number of military facilities there," the high-ranking diplomat said.
"If we choose to revisit a term from the past such as "the balance of forces in the world", it will become clear that NATO's "overall defense spending currently accounts for approximately one half of the world's" defense spending, he said.
"If we compare their [defense spending] with Russia's, we will see that our military budget is at least ten times smaller than the entire military budget of NATO countries, and the alliance is ahead of us concerning all of the main categories of weapons," he said.
"States that are speaking today about a deficit of security and fearing "Russia's possible military intervention", such states, by doing so, indirectly recognize the fact that they have not done enough on the issue of human rights protection. Instead of sending fighter jets to Baltic countries with obscure missions, countries of the European Union and NATO should rather try to persuade the authorities of Estonia and Latvia to begin taking concrete steps to eliminate the shameful phenomenon of non-citizenship, when people are deprived of their citizenship and political rights only because they speak Russian," Grushko said.