During their meeting with President Trump in Washington on Tuesday the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will ask him to send more troops and bolster air defenses on NATO’s eastern flank to “deter Russia,” EurActive online portal wrote.
Even though Russia never tires of saying that it has no wish to attack any NATO country, alarmist statements about the imaginary “Russian threat” can regularly be heard coming from Western politicians, particularly in the Baltic countries and Poland.
According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, NATO knows full well that Moscow harbors no plans of attacking anyone, but is simply using this as a pretext to deploy more weapons and troops along the Russian border.
EurActiv quoted a senior Lithuanian official who wished to remain unnamed as saying that “the three Baltic heads were asking the US to send Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missiles more frequently for war games. They also want to become a part of NATO’s larger European anti-missile shield.”
At its July 2016 summit in Warsaw, NATO decided to send four multinational battalions formed on a rotational basis by Britain, Germany, Canada and the US, to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. It was also announced that Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg would contribute troops to the battalions in 2016, with Croatian and French troops taking over in 2017.
NATO crossed ‘red line’ with military build-up around Russian borders
NATO has crossed a line with its “unjustified” military build-up on Russia’s doorstep, Russian envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko has warned. He added that global security cannot be ensured without Russia.
Relations with states neighboring Russia never developed “military dimensions” despite strained relations with some of them, including with the Baltic states, Grushko said. But the situation has now changed, thanks to the military bloc, he told a discussion panel at the Valdai Club on Tuesday.
“Now, thanks to NATO, we have a military dimension, it was their choice, they crossed the red line,” Grushko said.
While the West has been trying hard to isolate Russia and fuel anti-Russian hysteria, international security is the only thing that suffers from this approach, according to Grushko. Any NATO and EU attempts to create “isolated safe havens” are doomed to failure, the diplomat said, as the creation of solid security systems cannot succeed without Russia.
The situation on Russia’s doorstep is also reminiscent of “Cold War schemes,” which should already have been buried as they were proven to be inefficient. However, if the alliance turns its back on Russia, it will only harm its own security, the Russian official added.
“If they do not want dialogue, then there won’t be any. It takes two to tango, as you know, it will be a conscious choice of the alliance,” Grushko said.
In the wake of international hysteria over the Skripal case and following the mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from a range of countries, NATO cut the permanent size of the Russian mission from a maximum of 30 to 20. Grushko stressed that the alliance is damaging itself with such moves, as it merely decreased the already reduced level of bilateral cooperation.
DONi News Agency