Russia vows 'adequate' response to NATO's push into Baltic states

06 February 2015

Russia has warned NATO against its move to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons and back it up with additional forces in other Baltic states, saying it would force the country to review its military plans.

Alexander Grushko, Russian envoy to NATO /IMAGE  Nato-Russia CouncilRussia's envoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told Russian journalists on Thursday that the "serious changes in the military-political situation" along the Russian border will "naturally" lead to changes in Russia's military planning, so as to ensure the country's security.

"The opening up of additional military potential along our borders is nothing more than an attempt to exert pressure on Russia," Grushko said, adding that Russia's response will be "adequate" in any case.

During a meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the defence ministers of NATO member-states agreed on the creation of six new command and control posts in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. They also announced a doubling of forces to around 30,000 troops.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday announced the creation of a joint training center in Georgia. The alliance also decided to expand its pilot training programmes in non-nuclear countries, such as Poland, to operate nuclear-capable aircraft.

At the same time the NATO chief admitted that Russia posed no threat to Baltic states and eastern Europe.

"The training center in Georgia is a step that cannot be considered anything but provocation. There is no necessity for NATO to create any centers," Grushko said, stressing that countries in the Black Sea region are capable of ensuring their own security.

The decision "creates a great risk for Russia", primarily in the Baltics, which could become a region of "military confrontation", Grushko stressed.

The creation of a joint training center in Georgia, announced by NATO will contribute to geopolitical tensions and endanger regional security, the envoy saifd.

If NATO decides to give lethal aid to Kiev, which continues to fight independence supporters in the southeast, it could have "unpredictable" results, Grushko stressed amidst reports that the NATO chief planned to meet with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Munich on Saturday.

There was, however, no agreement among NATO allies about providing lethal aid to Kiev that launched a military operation against independence supporters in Ukraine's southeast at its meeting last spring.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed on Thursday that Germany will not provide weapons to Ukraine and will pursue a peaceful solution to the military conflict. However, US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain continues to urge the Obama administration to provide Ukraine with lethal assistance.
On Tuesday, Denis Pushilin, the negotiator of the self-proclaimed people's republic of Donetsk (DPR) at the Minsk reconciliation talks announced that shells with NATO markings were found to have been used by Ukrainian forces in Horlivka in southeastern Ukraine.

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