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West embarked on deliberate escalation near Russia’s borders, says official

Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Mikhail Popov stressed that NATO warships had been chosen as a tool of pressure on Russia

MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. The West’s actions demonstrate that it has embarked on a course for military, political and psychological pressure on Russia and a deliberate escalation near its borders, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Mikhail Popov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

"All that shows that the West has actually set a course for military, strategic, political and psychological pressure on the Russian Federation, as well as the deliberate escalation of military tensions near the borders with Russia, which does not contribute to strategic stability," he said, commenting on the actions of Western countries, including large-scale NATO exercises close to Russia’s borders.

Popov noted that NATO warships had been chosen as a tool of pressure on Russia. Such steps are "based on an arbitrary interpretation of the provisions of international maritime law and long-standing naval traditions," he added.

"As an example, I will cite the recent incident involving Britain’s Defender warship that occurred in Russia’s territorial waters on June 23. British sailors deliberately resorted to a provocation and escalation, violating Russia’s maritime border. The Russian Federation’s stance on the incident is unambiguous - that was a pre-planned provocation, which was rightfully thwarted," Popov stressed.

Reconnaissance activity near Russia's borders

Popov added that there had been a huge increase in reconnaissance activity by foreign states near Russia’s borders, with over 1,000 foreign planes and drones performing spy missions last year.

"The reconnaissance activity of foreign states has increased many times," he stressed.

"Specifically, more than 1,000 spy planes and drones of foreign states conducted air reconnaissance of Russian territory in 2020," the security official said.

The Russian security official also pointed to NATO’s intensified military activity as an increasing military threat to Russia. He mentioned the alliance’s large-scale military drills near the Russian borders that practiced employing large troop formations and nuclear weapons against Russia.