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MOSCOW, May 28. /TASS/. Russian Defense Ministry has come up with a comment on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s allegation that Russia is using the snap exercise underway at the moment to cover up redeployment of troops to Ukraine.
"Claims by Secretary General Stoltenberg that the Air Force and air defense troops exercise in the Astrakhan region could serve in some inconceivable way as a cover-up for redeployment of troops to eastern Ukraine can’t help causing concern," Gen Igor Konashenkov, the chief of the ministry’s press service said.
"Literally a year ago, the same kind of assertions made by Ms. Jane Psaki would cause bursts of laughter from anyone with at least elementary knowledge of geography," he said.
"But when this half-joke is repeated with a stone-faced expression by a politician of this high rank, it doesn’t look like farce but probably like a prank on the subordinates," Gen Konashenkov said. "I don’t rule out the recent singing in a chorus at the NATO summit in Antalya impressed Jens Stoltenberg so much and he is still too overjoyed to calm down."
"Still we’re compelled to inform our counterparts in Washington and Brussels a yet another time that the Ashuluk and Kapustin Yar testing range where the exercise is taking place is located almost 800 km away from southeastern Ukraine and the Pemboi testing range is located in northern Russia, almost 3,000 km away from Donetsk," he said.
It was for the purpose of explanation that the Defense Ministry held a briefing for foreign military attaches on May 26 where it told them where the exercise would be held and what its concept was. The information was illustrated graphically.
"It looks like it’s time something was done about confidential paperwork at NATO headquarters or the military attaches in Russia were told to write their reports in more distinct handwriting," Gen Konashenkov said. "Or else, they could offer secretarial jobs to teachers of geography who would also have good typewriting skills."