MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. Systematic provocations by NATO near Russia’s borders are fraught with major risks of developing into an armed conflict, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin has said.
"Lately, the alliance opted for direct provocations, fraught with a great risk of developing into an armed standoff," Fomin told a news briefing for foreign military attaches and representatives of foreign embassies accredited in Moscow.
As an example, he mentioned the June 23, 2021 attempt by the British destroyer Defender to intrude into Russia’s territorial waters near Crimea’s Cape Fiolent.
"It is significant that the US strategic reconnaissance plane RC-135 provided support for the British naval ship," Fomin said.
The intensity of reconnaissance flights in the Black Sea region has grown by 60% in contrast to 2020. The number of sorties increased from 436 to 710.
Fomin said that the presence of combat and supply ships from NATO’s extra-regional countries had become permanent.
"In January through December this year, NATO’s ships have made 30 visits to the region, in contrast to 23 in 2020. The overall duration of their presence reached 400 days, in contrast to 359 in 2020," Fomin said.
He stressed that after the United States’ pullout from the INF treaty NATO in fact ignored Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe and for mutual verification measures that might eliminate the existing concerns.
"The deployment of such missiles in Europe is unlikely to give NATO greater security," Fomin said.