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20 August 2021, 15:59
Maria Zakharova

The NATO build-up in Poland, the Baltic states is provocative, short-sighted

Maria Zakharova
Maria Zakharova
Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman

The NATO build-up in Poland and the Baltic countries, as well as the increasing number of NATO exercises in Europe are provocative and short-sighted to say the least, Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing on 19 August, BelTA has learned.

“We continue to proceed from the fact that Europe as a whole does not have any insolvable military and political issues that could need a military solution or a significant presence of military and political blocs,” Maria Zakharova said. “Nevertheless, the real state of things and the increasing NATO military buildup along our western borders suggest that the alliance thinks differently,” the spokeswoman added.

Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, among other things, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that NATO fails to see real threats as it sticks to its doctrine of military containment of Russia. As we now see, NATO overlooks real threats and starts dealing with them after they make international headlines. Do you know why? The answer is simple: for many years they have invested enormous resources to keep themselves and their citizens focused on one ostensible threat - Russia. In this situation, it is not surprising that they have lost touch with the reality and real threats. Now the whole world has seen it,” she said.

“The so-called rotational presence in the Baltic States and Poland is, in fact, a permanent deployment of four NATO battalion groups, which together are as large as a reinforced motorized infantry brigade with heavy hardware,” Maria Zakharova continued. “Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the alliance is conducting exercises on the eastern flank, with an aim to counteract, as they say, a matching adversary, which means Russia, of course. We view such exercises as provocative, and in the current context as short-sighted at least,” she said.

Russia is also concerned about the prospects for the U.S. military build-up in Poland. "They are planning a significant increase in the total number of U.S. troops, in addition to the 4,500 already stationed there," Maria Zakharova noted. “The infrastructure that is being created will enable the USA to quickly increase its presence to 20,000,” she said.

"All this inevitably leads to a change in the balance of power in Europe and provokes another arms race. We intend to carefully watch the situation and in case of further actions by the United States and NATO to undermine the pillars of security on the continent, we will be forced to take retaliatory measures to protect our legitimate national interests," Maria Zakharova said.

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