Russia Will Respond to NATO War Games in Poland: Sergei Lavrov

Russia Will Respond to NATO War Games in Poland: Sergei Lavrov
Tue Jun 7, 2016 08:17:45

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has strongly denounced the ongoing military drills by NATO in Eastern Europe, threatening to take unspecified measures to respond to increased activity by the Western military bloc near its borders.

At a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart, Timo Soini, in Moscow on Monday, Lavrov said the Kremlin is worried about the movement of NATO infrastructure towards Russia’s borders.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shows the way to his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini during a meeting in Moscow on June 6, 2016. (AFP photo)

This comes as the US-led military coalition has begun 10-day exercises, involving some 31,000 troops from Poland, the US, and 17 other NATO nations. Military preparedness and cooperation between allied commands and troops are expected to be tested during the drills.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian foreign minister warned that the Kremlin will take adequate measures to counter NATO activity in the Baltic region and its eastward expansion.

"We do not hide our negative attitude to the movement of NATO's military infrastructure towards our borders, to dragging new states into the military activity of the bloc," Lavrov said.

"We will invoke Russia's sovereign right to guarantee its security with measures proportionate to the current risks. I am confident that our Finnish friends and neighbors also understand this,” he added.

Lavrov also noted that he saw no threats in the Baltic region that would justify the area's militarization by the US and its allies.

US troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Regiment emplace a launching station of the Patriot air and missile system at a test range in Sochaczew, Poland, on March 21, 2015. (AFP photo)

This came after Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko said on Friday that NATO’s plan for more deployments in Poland and the Baltic states “changes the regional situation in the sphere of security qualitatively.”
Senior officials in Moscow have repeatedly accused NATO of seeking confrontation, describing its military buildup as a threat to security in Europe.

NATO has stepped up its military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.

Russia has also criticized NATO’s expansion policy to include countries in the Western Balkan region, saying the move directly harms Russia’s strategic interests in the area.

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