MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. NATO’s large-scale military exercises in Europe look like an operation to cover Kiev’s military actions in south-east Ukraine, a senior Russian lawmaker from the upper house of parliament said Wednesday.
Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, commented on the start of the North Atlantic alliance’s air drills, the biggest since the end of the cold war, on Facebook.
The official said the military exercises are taking place "at the most inappropriate moment of many possible ones."
"What we have here is a regular round of deteriorating situation in Donbas. The feeling that Kiev is quite ready for a regular attempt to solve its problems in the east by military means and thus get rid for good of the Minsk Agreements that are very uncomfortable for it is getting more and more distinct," he said.
The parliamentarian said the fact that NATO’s exercises take place in Europe refute the alliance’s claims that "the drills are in no way connected with the conflict in Ukraine."
He said NATO’s large-scale war game, which involves some 5,000 troops from 11 NATO allies, is "tantamount to conducting an operation to cover or provide for Kiev’s regular shady enterprise, as if hinting that foreign countries will help them if anything goes wrong."
Kosachyov also dismissed the NATO airborne drills’ stated aim "to demonstrate the alliance's capacity to rapidly deploy and operate in support of maintaining a strong and secure Europe" saying "Europe is secure [and therefore strong] when it is less involved in saber-rattling."
The situation in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated in recent weeks, with the number of reports on shelling and civilian deaths increasing. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) have repeatedly said that the observance of the ceasefire that took effect February 15 depends solely on the Ukrainian side.