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Russian envoy: NATO turns Poland, Baltic states into bridgehead for pressure on Moscow

July 13, 2016, 20:20 UTC+3

According to Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko, Moscow is ready to hold discussions with NATO on the mandatory use of transponders during flights over the Baltic Sea

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BRUSSELS, July 13 /TASS/. Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko has accused NATO of creating a bridgehead for exerting military pressure on Moscow in the Baltic States and Poland thus transferring Russia’s relations with those countries into a military dimension.

"The danger consists in the fact that today NATO is building its policy of confrontation on a mythical threat from Russia and military preparations near our borders. This territory [the Baltic States and Poland where NATO battalions are going to be deployed - TASS] is turning into a bridgehead for exerting military and political pressure on Russia and is transferring our relations with those states to a military dimension," the Russian diplomat said.

He added that the building up of NATO infrastructure on the eastern flank was confrontational. "We consider these measures to be ungrounded, excessive and counter-productive. They are aimed at confrontation; they are weakening pan-European and regional security and are returning us to security schemes characteristic of the Cold War days," Grushko said.

"The missile defense system is also creating risks for Russia. It carries a destabilizing military potential, which undermines strategic stability," he stressed adding the conversation was open and focused on the consequences of increasing NATO’s military potential and military activities on the eastern flank for the pan-European and regional security.

"Russia is posing no threat to NATO," Grushko stressed.

Transponders over Baltic

According to the diplomat, Russia is ready to hold discussions with NATO on the mandatory use of transponders during flights over the Baltic Sea.

"Our military have said we support the Finnish President's plan for building up security of flights in the airspace of the Baltc Sea area," Grushko said. "We're prepared to hold detailed consultations at the military level with representatives of NATO member-states and other nations that engage in Air Force operations in the region."

"So let's see if NATO moves this way," he added.

During a visit to Finland on July 1, Vladimir Putin supported the proposal of Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on banning Air Force flights with switched-off transponspoders over the Baltic Sea.

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