MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. The North Atlantic alliance annually holds 30 large-scale drills to practice warfare against Russia, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said at a briefing for foreign military diplomats on Monday.
"The NATO bloc conducts 30 large-scale drills, in which it practices the scenarios of warfare against Russia. Special attention in combat training is paid to creating strike task forces near the borders of our country. In particular, a series of Defender Europe 2021 drills was held in May-June this year with the redeployment of reinforcement troops numbering up to 40,000 personnel from the United States of America and Western Europe to the eastern flank," the Russian defense official said.
The 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act stipulates that the military alliance shall not carry out "its collective defense and other missions by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces," he stressed.
"However, the presence of about 13,000 troops of the bloc’s extra-regional states is maintained in Eastern Europe on a continuous basis today. These formations operate about 200 tanks, 400 armored vehicles, 50 guns and over 30 aircraft and helicopters," the Russian deputy defense minister said.
Under the US pressure, the heads of state and governments of NATO countries assumed commitments at their summit in Great Britain in 2014 to raise national defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024, with no less than 20% of funds to be spent on the purchase of armaments on carrying out research and development, he said.
As a result, the NATO states’ military spending totaled $1.174 trillion in 2021, which exceeds Russia’s defense budget by more than 18 times. Over the last six years, the alliance has boosted spending by $278 billion (by 31%) or by $715 billion since 1997, i.e. by more than 2.5 times, the deputy defense minister said.