MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The General Staff of Russia’s armed forces has noted the outspoken anti-Russian nature of NATO’s training activities and growing provocations near Russia’s borders, the chief of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces, First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov told a news briefing for foreign military attaches.
"The training of the alliance’s forces is developing an outspokenly anti-Russian bias, with non-NATO countries getting increasingly involved. Provocative activities near Russia’s borders are growing," Gerasimov said.
He pointed to the considerable growth of NATO countries’ defense budgets and further buildup of their military potential.
"The unbridled buildup of the missile defense potential is continuing, which considerably affects the balance of forces and gives one side the edge in using strategic weapons. The role of non-nuclear means of attack with long range, high accuracy and great destructive potential is increasing," Gerasimov said.
He stressed that these weapons were capable of attaining aims that in the past might have been achieved only by means of using nuclear weapons.
Presence of NATO’s ships in Black, Baltic and Barents seas
Russia finds the growing number of visits by NATO’s ships to the Black, Baltic and Barents seas, as well as more frequent flights by US strategic aircraft as worrisome, Valery Gerasimov stated. "The major increase in the number of NATO ships’ visits to the Black, Baltic and Barents seas is alarming. Also, the number of flights by US strategic aircraft has grown," Gerasimov said.
He recalled that Russia earlier addressed NATO and the US with a call for considering measures that might prevent negative developments. Gerasimov stressed that the proposals included a resumption of the dialogue by military officials to discuss issues of mutual interest and Russia’s and NATO’s common concerns. "It might be possible to begin consultations at the level of military experts," Gerasimov said.
There were proposals for taking measures to ease military activity along the line of Russia-NATO engagement on the basis of reciprocity and maximum transparency. Russia suggested improving a mechanism of preventing dangerous military activity in the air and at sea, in the first place, in the Baltic and Black Sea regions.
"These proposals have been repeatedly voiced on different platforms, including the Russia-NATO Council, but there has been no reaction to our initiatives to this day," Gerasimov said.