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NATO justifies growth of its defense budget by profiling Russia as ominous foe — lawmaker

February 16, 0:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"It’s extremely difficult to motivate the economical Europeans to spend if there’s no outside threat," Russian lamaker Konstantin Kosachev said

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Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament

Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament

© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. NATO profiles Russia as a huge and ominous foe in the light of deployment of Iskander missile complexes in the Baltic exclave Kaliningrad region as it seeks justify the increase of its own defense spending, Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament told TASS on Thursday.

"In all likelihood, the causes are the same, namely, NATO still need a huge and ominous foe - in the first place, for fulfilling Washington’s ultimatum to the allies and to make them hike military spending to 2% of the GDP [in each member-state - TASS]," he said. "It’s extremely difficult to motivate the economical Europeans to spend if there’s no outside threat."

Along with it, the calls to Russia to be transparent in the process of deployment of the Iskanders that came recently from the Secretary General of the North-Atlantic pact, Jens Stoltenberg, look customary as the West’s reaction to any reciprocal steps on the part of Moscow, the senator said.

"It’s always in the same key - well, but why us?" Kosachev said.

He stressed the character of Russia’s step as a logical, albeit an asymmetrical response to the buildup of NATO forces along the Russian border.

After the end of the Cold War, the alliance expanded its territory 1,300 km eastwards and reached the borders of the Russian Federation. In July 2016, it passed a decision to fortify its eastern flank and to place more forces in a stone’s throw from the Russian territory, Kosachev recalled.

"And when Russia offers a very logical reaction to these overtly provocative activities on the part of the world’s hugest military organization and places a defensive system on its sovereign territory, NATO puts on the pretenses of an offended party as if Russia’s reaction is sporadic, unnatural or illegitimate," he said.

Kosachev also expressed astonishment over Stoltenberg’s references to the importance of the Russia-NATO Council, "which should be used for informing on military exercises and defense potentials."

"Wasn’t it Brussels that persistently closed down the dialogue channels with Russia," he said.

"As far as I know, psychologists describe the inability to foresee the aftermaths of one’s actions as a property of infantilism," Kosachev said. "NATO’s hurt feelings over Russia’s reciprocal steps - like the Americans’ grudges against the symmetric reduction of the U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia after Washington initiated the diplomatic wars - fall very much into the same category."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to act transparently in what concerned a possible deployment of Iskander tactical missile complexes in the Kaliningrad region and generally in military activity there.

He also spoke in favor of continued dialogue with Moscow in the format of the Russia-NATO Council for ensuring predictability and transparency in the defense sphere in Europe.

The chairman of the State Duma committee for Defense, Gen Vladimir Shamanov, Ret., confirmed the information on redeploying the Iskanders to the Kaliningrad region earlier. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in this connection the deployment of armament systems on the Russian territory was not to be a matter of concern for other nations, as Russia was not threatening anyone.

Iskander missile complexes were designed for destroying the enemy’s missile complexes, salvo systems, extended-range artillery weapons, command headquarters, and signal operation stations. They have an effective range of about 500 km.

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