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Kremlin comments on remarks of new NATO commander in Europe

May 05, 2016, 15:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW May, 5. /TASS

New commander of NATO’s armed forces in Europe US General Curtis Scaparotti mentioned Russia among NATO’s main security challenges in his first speech at the ceremony of assuming command

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© AP Photo/ Maxim Marmur

MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Russia will safeguard its national interests should there be any threat to them, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said about statements by the newly appointed commander of NATO’s forces in Europe, US General Curtis Scaparotti, who described Russia as one of the new challenges to the alliance’s security.

"Certainly, Russia cannot leave unnoticed any actions that directly or potentially may pose a threat to its national interests. Russia will traditionally protect its interests," Peskov said.

"We’ve said more than once that reviving Russia is not a threat to anyone," he added. "Russia systematically presses for mutually beneficial cooperation with due regard for the interests of all partners and for the joint settlement of conflicts.

Scaparrotti took the helm of NATO's European Command from another US general, Philip Breedlove. The post of the NATO European Command chief is traditionally assigned to the US military as the United States principally does not allow placing its armed forces under the command of generals from other countries.

In his first speech at the ceremony of assuming command at the alliance’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, Scaparrotti mentioned Russia among NATO’s main security challenges. He noted, in particular, that NATO would continue to maintain its strategy of deterrence towards Russia and must be able "to fight tonight," if it failed.

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