24 October 2016

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Russia: NATO focusing on nonexistent Russia threat – RFE/RL

Russia's Foreign Ministry says NATO summit shows alliance is focusing its efforts on containing nonexistent Russian threat, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Warsaw was hosting the NATO Summit on July 8-9 / Photo from UNIAN
Warsaw was hosting the NATO Summit on July 8-9 / Photo from UNIAN

The spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement July 10 that Moscow would seek explanations for the alliance's plans at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on July 13, RFE/RL wrote.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said it would seek explanation from NATO for a Finnish plan to improve air defenses over the Baltic.

NATO has previously said it's looking to step up defense cooperation with Finland and Sweden by way of more joint exercises and increased information-sharing following increased activity by the Russian military in the air and the sea.

Part of the NATO summit which concluded July 9 was dominated by the formal authorization of plans for multinational battalions of up to 1,000 troops each to be stationed on a rotating basis in Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The battalions will be led by the United States, Canada, Britain, and Germany.

Stoltenberg: NATO to declare Initial Operation Capability of its missile shieldNATO officials termed the deployment a direct response to Russian belligerence and the biggest such move by the alliance since the end of the Cold War. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on July 9 that a "more assertive" Russia has built up its military capabilities, modernized its armed forces, and tripled its defense spending in recent years. 

He also said Moscow has been "willing to use military force against neighbors, against Ukraine, illegally annexing Crimea, and destabilizing eastern Ukraine."

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