Russian Security Council Secretary: Russia will react to plans to increase NATO rapid reaction forces in Europe

Russia will react to an increase of the NATO military infrastructure, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said.

"As to the threats from NATO, with their expansion, as to the military structure expansion, we will react to these things," Patrushev said in Ulan-Ude on Thursday, responding to a request from Interfax to comment on the NATO plans to strengthen rapid reaction forces in Europe.

"Some former Soviet republics are now NATO members. Did we come near them? It was NATO that came near us. It's very near us now. And we cannot help but react to the threats that are coming [from NATO]," Patrushev said.

The same day U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a press conference in Brussels that the United States is not planning to increase the number of its permanently stationed troops in Europe and thinks it more efficient to rotate them there depending on the specific situation and for participation in military drills with allies.

Speaking after a meeting of the NATO defense ministers, he said that at this stage the U.S. is not trying to increase its permanent troops in Europe but wants to keep its long-term presence on the rotation basis. This is better from the viewpoint of efficiency and readiness, he said.

Carter stressed that since the strategic situation in Europe has changed, the U.S. decided to contribute the necessary equipment to a high readiness force being created by NATO's European members, the NATO rapid reaction force.

In particular, the U.S. will supply strategic military transport vehicles, tanker aircraft, combat helicopters, reconnaissance and surveillance systems and other systems of which NATO'S European members have few or none.

The defense secretary noted that the U.S. is applying a strong and balanced strategic approach towards Russia, does not recognize Crimea's annexation and supports the sanctions policy.

Read more: Can Russia and NATO agree to disagree?

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