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NATO shifting blame accusing Moscow of increased military flights — Russian diplomat

February 06, 2015, 10:29 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
The number of flights of NATO member-states doubled last year, compared with 2013, reaching 3,000
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Military fighter participating in NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission

Military fighter participating in NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission

© AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis

BRUSSELS, February 6. /TASS/. NATO is trying to lay the fault at Russia’s door by accusing Moscow of increased military air activity near the alliance’s borders, Russia’s envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said on Friday.

"If we look at the statistics of flights, which are performed over neutral waters, and we fly only over neutral waters, then we see that the number of Russian aviation flights has increased slightly in the past years," Grushko said.

Meanwhile, the number of flights of NATO member-states doubled last year, compared with 2013, reaching 3,000, the Russian permanent representative to NATO told reporters.

Grushko said all Russian military flights are conducted in accordance with the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He explained that transponders are not used in military aviation and but the routes are laid so that no obstacles are created to international commercial flights.

"That’s why this is an alleged problem. The campaign which has been launched today is an attempt to lay the fault at somebody else’s door," Grushko said.

"NATO has increased the regime of air monitoring in the Baltic countries and performs flights in a close proximity to our strategic centres, including St. Petersburg. This is a new military reality in view of military potentials, on which we should pay attention," he said.

The Russian diplomat said that if there are any problems, then they can be resolved through bilateral channels. "This is a common diplomatic practice," he stressed.

Grushko said Russia has taken into account the statements of NATO representatives who say that this issue needs to be considered through military agencies of NATO and Russia.

"That’s why if our partners [in NATO] have any proposals, I’m sure that the Russian Defense Ministry will study them," he said.

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