Kremlin states that NATO exercies in Poland undermine trust, security

Tuesday, 7 June, 2016 - 16:30

A senior Russian official says the ongoing military exercises conducted by NATO in Poland and other European countries do not contribute to an atmosphere of trust and security across Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remarks in Moscow, a day after the US-led western military alliance launched their biggest-ever joint exercise in Poland.

"In any case, the military drills, which are based on legends about a quite unambiguous indication in an understandable way, definitely, do not contribute to the atmosphere of trust and security," Peskov said during a news briefing on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly denounced the ongoing military drills by NATO in Eastern Europe, threatening to take measures to respond to increased activity by the Western military bloc near its borders. Lavrov also noted that he saw no threats in the Baltic region that would justify the area's militarization by the US and its allies.

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

The US-led military coalition has begun 10-day exercises, involving some 31,000 troops from Poland, the US, and several other NATO nations. Military preparedness and cooperation between allied commands and troops are expected to be tested during the drills.

The largest contingent of about 14,000 soldiers was sent by the United States to take part in the maneuver.

Around 3,000 vehicles, 105 aircraft and 12 naval vessels will also be involved in the drills.

The exercises are being held just weeks before a planned summit by NATO in the polish capital, Warsaw, that is expected to decide on whether to significantly increase NATO troop and equipment deployments to bases in Poland and the Baltic states.

Senior officials in Moscow have repeatedly accused NATO of seeking confrontation, describing its military buildup as a threat to security in Europe.

Russia has also criticized NATO’s expansionist policy to include countries in the Western Balkan region, saying the move directly harms Russia’s strategic interests in the area.

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.