Photo: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP / Getty Images
Russia warned today that NATO provocations, which he accused of greatly increasing its presence near Russian borders in 2021, may lead to a military conflict.
“Recently, the Atlantic Alliance has switched to the practice of direct provocations, which carries a high risk of escalation in a military conflict,” said Alexandr Fomin, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, during a meeting with military attachés and representatives of foreign embassies. .
He gave as an example that the British destroyer Defender was escorted by a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft when it entered Russian territorial waters last June off the Crimea.
Fomin denounced that allied intelligence aviation flights this year increased by 60%, from 436 to 710, while the appearances of US strategic aircraft in the Black Sea also increased from 78 to 92.
“The minimum distance from the Russian border on the western flank of Crimea was 15 kilometers,” he said.
In total, according to the deputy minister, NATO held a fortnight of maneuvers in the Black Sea, seven more than in 2020, while thirty incursions by allied ships took place, compared to 23 last year.
He also denounced that the Euro-Atlantic bloc organized some thirty maneuvers with Russia as the enemy and that in Eastern Europe there are almost 13,000 military personnel from countries outside the region that have about 200 tanks and 400 armored vehicles, as well as airplanes and helicopters.
“The military development of the bloc has been completely redirected towards the preparation of a large-scale and high-intensity armed conflict with Russia,” he lamented.
He accused NATO of opting for hybrid methods for the “military containment” of Russia and it considered that the allied enlargement to the east in 1999 and 2004 damaged the European security architecture.
He considered that one of the reasons for NATO’s “fiasco” in Afghanistan was precisely the refusal to coordinate its actions with Russia in the fight against terrorism.
All this, according to MIF, forces Russia to firmly raise with the allies the need for binding security guarantees that prevent the expansion of the bloc to the east and the deployment of offensive weapons near the Russian border.
Last week at his annual press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that NATO grant “immediately” guarantees to Moscow, negotiations that should begin after the New Year holidays in Russia, that is, on January 10. .
“Have we put missiles near the US border? No! It is the United States that has come to our house with its missiles and they are already on the threshold. How would the Americans react if we suddenly deployed our missiles on the US-Canada border or the US-Mexico border? ”He said.
On Sunday, in statements to public television, Putin assured that, in case NATO does not listen to reasons, it will consult with military experts on the measures to be taken, although he insisted that the Kremlin seeks a “diplomatic and negotiated solution.”
Last week Russia proposed to NATO the signing of an agreement on security guarantees that would prevent the entry of countries of the former Soviet Union. He also urges the allies to desist from all military activity in their backyard, from Eastern Europe to the Caucasus and Central Asia.
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