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BRUSSELS, March 18. /TASS/. NATO on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" over snap checks of the combat readiness of the Russian armed forces despite the alliance’s growing military activity in Eastern Europe close to Russia’s borders.
A NATO official told TASS that "Russia has conducted about a dozen snap exercises over the past two years," while the alliance "has not conducted snap exercises since the end of the Cold War."
However, six NATO war ships have entered the Black Sea in early March on invitation from Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey for planned maneuvers.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier in March that the North Atlantic Alliance "is implementing the strongest reinforcement of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War." He added that "NATO is establishing six command and control centers in the Baltic States and three other eastern Allies, in order to coordinate training and exercises, and facilitate rapid reinforcements."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said on Monday that growing number of NATO drills near Russian borders led to destabilization of the situation in eastern Europe.
"Russia is deeply concerned about the growing number of NATO drills near our borders," Meshkov said.
NATO naval drills in the Black Sea are not the first demonstration of growing military activity of the North Atlantic Alliance near Russian borders. On March 9, 120 units of military equipment arrived to Latvia from US, including tanks and armored vehicles. Estonia is still waiting for reinforcements from Washington. US servicemen are expected to participate in the Siil-2015 military exercise scheduled for May 4-15 in Estonia. Around 13,000 troops will take part in the drills.