MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. NATO’s stepped-up military activity and the development of missile defense in the United States contribute to increased military threats and challenges for Russia, Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Mikhail Popov said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily.
"No doubt," he said when asked whether NATO troop maneuvers near Russia’s borders are seen as new threats.
"The mounting military dangers and military threats to Russia are also facilitated by NATO’s active military activities, the development of US global missile defense capabilities along with [the drills] practicing the use of large military formations and nuclear weapons against Russia," Popov specified.
Furthermore, the role of non-nuclear weapons that have "a longer range and more powerful combat equipment" is growing, he added.
"And all this is taking place right before our eyes," the Russian Security Council’s Deputy Secretary said.
Popov recalled that NATO’s Defender Europe 2021 had been recently conducted near Russia’s borders, turning out to be the largest multinational exercise since the Cold War, as troops from 26 countries were involved.
"The drills practiced large-scale US forces’ deployment to Europe, the deployment and use of large joint task force groups, as well as options for piercing through the Russian access restriction zones in the regions of the Black and Baltic Seas," Popov noted.
NATO’s Sea Breeze naval maneuvers kicked off in the western part of the Black Sea on June 28, bringing together troops from 32 countries. About 4,000 personnel, 40 combat ships, vessels and auxiliary craft, and 30 planes took part in the exercise, the Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council said.