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MOSCOW, June 21. /TASS/. The deployment of NATO armed forces near the borders of the Kaliningrad Region does not violate the provisions of the NATO-Russia Founding Act, Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller told TASS.
"At NATO we do not agree with their assessment," she said, commenting on the statements of the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Lavrov on the serious violation of the act’s provisions by the Alliance.
"As I heard it, concerns are stressed that the troop presence, that has set forward for the battle groups, in some way steps over the bound of the NATO-Russia final act. First of all, we are talking about relatively small groupings, defensively deployed. For example, approximately 1,500 troops. These do not reach the threshold of anybody’s definition, I think, of substantial combat forces. And secondly, the forces are not permanently deployed. They are in rotational basis."
According to the Founding Act, the Alliance is bound to "carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." The total number of four NATO combat groups deployed to the Baltic states and Poland may reach 6,000 people, a brigade in Romania, up to 10,000 people, whereas an additional tank brigade consisting of around 10,000 people will be deployed to Poland by the US.
A grouping of up to 25,000 people is being formed near the NATO eastern borders. Apart from this, the military transport infrastructure is being actively modernized to provide the possibility for quick deployment of additional reinforcing to the region, as well as the logistic system to provide extra forces and operate them is being established.
Speaking before the students of the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "Today the Alliance is taking decisions that crudely violate the provisions of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. The scale of military activity has considerably increased, military presence and facilities are growing in the regions near the Russian borders, including near the Kaliningrad Region borders."
May 2017 was marked by the 20th anniversary of the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and 15th anniversary since the adoption of the Rome Declaration on the new quality of relations between Russia and NATO, the Russian foreign minister reiterated.
"However, the goal set out in these documents - to overcome the drawbacks of the confrontation and rivalry and foster mutual trust and cooperation - has not been reached, primarily because NATO still remains a Cold War institution incapable of responding adequately to the new millennium's challenges," Lavrov noted.