MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. NATO’s growing air and naval activity may be fraught with the risk of major incidents, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said in an interview to the government-published Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
"The outgoing year saw a major upsurge in the alliance’s air and naval activity. Situations capable of resulting in major incidents have been ever more frequent," Fomin said.
He recalled that on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War a group of NATO ships held an exercise in the Barents Sea. In August and September 2020 there were more than 15 flights by US strategic bombers B-52H and B-1B near Russia’s borders. On October 13, 2020 Britain’s destroyer The Dragon carried out a voyage through Russia’s territorial sea in the area of Cape Khersones, and on November 24, 2020 the US destroyer The John McCain entered the Peter the Great Gulf.
"The aforesaid actions were openly provocative. Incidents were avoided entirely thanks to the high professionalism of Russian air pilots and sailors," Fomin said.
He stressed that he would strongly advise one and all to refrain from trying to treat Russia from the position of strength, contrary to calls by Germany’s Defense Minister Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer in the Bundestag.
"Threats to use force are a direct violation of the UN Charter. Such actions will not remain without our proper response. We’ve always proceeded from the understanding that the most complicated problems must be addressed at the negotiating table. We are prepared for a professional and constructive dialogue on the condition of observance of principles of mutual respect and each other’s interests," Fomin said.