Russia hints at ‘military precautions’ in response to NATO

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Russia has denounced a recent decision by NATO to expand its presence in Eastern Europe, threatening to take measures against the Western military build-up on its borders. 

Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Alexander Grushko said on Friday that NATO’s plan for more deployments in Poland and the Baltic states “changes the regional situation in the sphere of security qualitatively.”

Such a move, he said, will “surely require not only a political response but also the appropriate military precautions.”

The Russian military “will watch with much attention what means might be necessary to neutralize the risks” arising from NATO’s growing activity, Grushko added.

The remarks came four days after Polish Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz announced that NATO would deploy four battalions in Poland as well as the Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.

Macierewicz made the comments following a meeting with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The military bloc had previously announced that it would introduce a multinational force that would tour through eastern Europe and conduct drills with national troops.

According to Stoltenberg, the size of the force would be announced in detail during the NATO summit scheduled to be held in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on July 8-9. 

NATO has stepped up its military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.

Moscow has repeatedly repudiated NATO’s expansion near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.

Last month, NATO formally invited Montenegro to become its 29th member, forcing the Kremlin to warn that the decision risked fueling geopolitical tensions across Europe.

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