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Russian security official says Moscow sees beefed-up US, NATO activity as military threat

Current international climate is very dynamic, the official added
NATO multi-national land force training AP Photo/Alik Keplicz
NATO multi-national land force training
© AP Photo/Alik Keplicz

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. The military dangers posed by the US and NATO are already morphing into military threats for Russia, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Mikhail Popov said in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

"The US and NATO’s anti-Russian activity resulted in the tendency of ‘military dangers’ transforming into ‘military threats’," the politician stressed. To prove this point, Deputy Secretary Popov pointed out that NATO membership had doubled over the last 20 years. Moreover, in the last two years the NATO Response Force (NRF) rose by 1.6% (from 25,000 to 40,000). Besides, multinational enhanced battalion battle groups of up to 1,000 soldiers each are being deployed in the Baltic States. The so-called 30-30-30-30 American initiative of having 30 land battalions, 30 air fighter squadrons and 30 ships formed by NATO member states ready to be deployed within 30 days is in effect now.

"The system of transatlantic redeployment of troop reinforcements from the US and Canada to Europe to form large coalition groups on Russia’s borders, which existed during the Cold War, is being resurrected now", the senior official added. Deputy Secretary Popov also pointed out that the intensity of NATO operational and military troop training in the immediate vicinity adjacent to Russia’s borders had increased significantly.

Popov also focused on the US expanding its missile defense system to further prove his point. "It is indicative that as the global US missile defense system is being deployed and its capabilities are being beefed up. With that in mind the Americans seem to have forgotten about the Iranian threat that they themselves had initially declared," the security official emphasized, pointing out that the system had been expanded precisely under the guise of countering the Iran threat.

Breach of agreements

In further discussing Russia-US relations, Popov said that Russia’s military doctrine has a provision for such a danger like breaching international agreements by individual states, as well as non-compliance with previously concluded international treaties in the field of arms embargos, limitation and reduction. He specified that lately there has been a lot of talk about Washington’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the pullout from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal), as well as the US refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

“But somehow, the steps taken by the US administration to revise the powers of the working bodies of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to block attempts to create a legally binding mechanism for verifying compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons, to scale up their own military-biological programs in the post-Soviet space remain in the shadow,” Deputy Secretary Popov pointed out. "And I can assure you that this list can go on and on."

"The current international climate is very dynamic and is getting more and more complicated and unstable," the top official concluded. "We can observe that conflict potential is mounting in the zones that Russia has traditionally had interests in."