Diplomat: Rise in NATO activity in Europe near Russian borders is provocative

Moscow has branded provocative the rise in NATO military activity in the areas bordering Russia but does not see a threat of a direct military confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry European Cooperation Department Director Ivan Soltanovsky told Interfax in an interview on August 26.

Moscow has branded provocative the rise in NATO military activity in the areas bordering Russia but does not see a threat of a direct military confrontation, Russian Foreign Ministry European Cooperation Department Director Ivan Soltanovsky told Interfax in an interview on August 26.

"We have a negative attitude to the mounting military activity of NATO in the areas bordering our country and are observing a growth in the number and the scope of exercises which are being held under the NATO aegis, and bilaterally under the supervision of particular allies," Soltanovsky said, commenting on the large-scale exercises of the North Atlantic Alliance held in Europe since the middle of August.

"The enhancement of this military presence and infrastructures near our borders has an obvious provocative nature," the senior diplomat said.

As to whether a direct military confrontation between the alliance and Russia could be expected in the context of the ongoing exercises, Soltanovsky said, "The fact that these exercises are being held on a rotation basis does not lift our concern about the true goals of the variability of forward-based hardware and the rotation presence."

"On the other hand, I would not say there is a risk of a major military clash," the diplomat said.

NATO military exercises, Immediate Response 2015, are being held in Europe from August 15-September 13.

The drills assessed by the U.S. command as the largest joint exercises of airborne forces on the continent since the end of the Cold War involve about 5,000 servicemen from eleven countries: Bulgaria, the UK, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United States and France.

Press Digest: NATO holding biggest drills in Europe since Cold War>>>

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