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NATO building up offensive armaments along border with Russia — General Staff

Pessimistic scenario stipulates Moscow to implement measures of constraint against NATO, General Valery Gerasimov said

MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. NATO is building up offensive armaments and strengthening military infrastructure along the borders with Russia, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday.

"Offensive armaments are being piled up along the entire line of contiguity with Russia. The capacity of aerodromes and ports is being built up," the chief of Russia’s General Staff said at the 6th Moscow conference on international security.

"Centers are being set up to store inventories. This will allow the alliance to promptly build up its grouping through the deployment of NATO response forces to the region," Gerasimov said.

According to data cited by the chief of Russia’s General Staff, the numerical strength of response forces and also foreign military contingents in Eastern Europe is being increased. Additional formations and the headquarters infrastructure are being placed in the Baltic countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. NATO has intensified reconnaissance along the borders with Russia and has almost doubled the number of military exercises in the East European region.

"The implementation of the plans for the alliance’s expansion is disrupting a balance of forces in the region and increasing the risks of military incidents. All of the bloc’s actions are of destructive and provocative nature," the general said.

Moreover, pilots of the NATO countries that do not possess nuclear weapons are involved in training for their use, the chief of Russia’s General Staff said.

"This is a direct violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," Gerasimov said.

Moscow has been taking adequate measures of constraint taking into account the growing differences with NATO.

"The current differences, first and foremost, between Russia and NATO, continue to grow. The alliance has been expanding, continuing large-scale military activities on its ‘eastern flank’," Gerasimov said. "Russia will have to take appropriate retaliatory steps and the necessary measures of restraint," he said when speaking on the pessimistic scenario concerning the differences between Russia and NATO.

Russia-NATO relations at lowest point since Cold War era

Relations between Russia and NATO are currently at the lowest point since the end of the Cold War, Gerasimov said.

"Today they are at the lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The decisions of NATO’s summits in the UK and Poland state that Russia is the main source of military threats," he said.

According to Gerasimov, the framework where Russia and NATO could discuss the situation, that is, the NATO-Russia Council has stalled. "There is no military-to-military dialogue there. Today virtually all contacts have been curtailed," he said, adding that this contributes to further deterioration of relations between Russia and the alliance.

Cyberattacks against NATO may serve as a pretext

Cyberattacks against NATO countries may serve as a pretext for naming those guilty without any proof and the alliance’s military strikes on them, according to Gerasimov.

Gerasimov noted that NATO has started looking into how to implement Article 5 (collective defense) of the Washington Treaty in case of cyberattacks on technical means of systems of state and military administration belonging to NATO member-states.

"But in modern conditions it is almost impossible to identify true sources of these attacks. Therefore, a possibility emerges to name those guilty absolutely without any proof and exert influence on them by military means," Gerasimov said.

Until recently, the alliance’s member-states have used more substantial reasons for a military aggression against sovereignty of other countries. The regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq was toppled after reports that it possessed weapons of mass destruction. However, after the US had invaded Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction were found.

Earlier this month, Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun, in the Idlib Governorate. Following an order by US President Donald Trump, the US military fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from its warships in the Mediterranean at an air base located in Syria’s Homs Governorate in the early hours of April 7. The missile strike targeted what Washington claimed was the source of the chemical attack. Russia believes the April 4 incident in Khan Shaykhun was either a provocation or that a Syrian missile hit a workshop with chemical weapons belonging to militants.