MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Chairman of the Defense Committee in the lower house of Russia’s parliament and former Airborne Force Commander Vladimir Shamanov said on Monday a possibility existed that NATO forces might launch an offensive against Russia on the alliance’s eastern flank.
"The balanced development of the [Russian] troops’ military branches and services continued in 2016… the formation of four motor rifle divisions and one tank division was completed. This is a direct response to the challenges and threats linked with NATO’s course towards building up its presence in the alliance’s eastern flank," the MP said at a meeting with military attaches accredited in Moscow. The discussion focused on the lower house’s work on the legislative provision for the country’s defense in 2016.
"In the West, they call it the containment of Russia. We believe that these forces and means may be used in offensive operations against our country," the politician said.
"In our history, we signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler but he treacherously attacked our country on June 22," the parliamentarian said.
Russia is compelled to respond symmetrically to NATO’s eastward expansion and this distracts Moscow from countering the threat of international terrorism:
"In response to NATO’s military forces creeping towards our borders and Kiev’s provocations, including in Crimea, we were forced to beef up defenses and enhance its combat capability," explained Shamanov.
"Unfortunately, this distracts us from countering terrorism, which is undoubtedly the major source of instability in the world," Shamanov stressed at the meeting devoted to the lower house’s effort to ensure the country’s defense in 2016.
During the fight against the Islamic State carried out by the US-led coalition "the regions occupied by terrorists had even expanded," he noted.