Russia decided to take appropriate measures against increased presence of NATO military near Russia’s western borders.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov stated: “The military build-up is taking place along the perimeter of the western borders of the Russian Federation. Such dangerous plans are implemented in the missile defense sphere. The NATO countries’ defense spending is increasing. I mean that we see all this, note this and take the appropriate military-technical measures. However, I would like to emphasize – we are against an arms race, no matter who imposes it on us,” Antonov said.
According to him, Moscow is not against restoring military relations with the NATO and European countries.
However, restoring military cooperation with NATO is only possible on the principles of “equality, dialogue, mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s interests,” he added.
Antonov also said that it was not Moscow that initiated freezing Russia’s military cooperation with NATO and EU countries “after the known events in Ukraine.” In addition, he said, Russia is facing today an information war, in essence.
As to NATO’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia and concerns voiced by NATO leaders that Russia is “at the doorstep of the Alliance,” Antonov believes such moves are a part of a blunt propaganda campaign.
“Russia is being targeted by a propaganda campaign. Some of the statements made by NATO leaders are nothing short of absurd. They are now saying that Russia is ‘at the doorstep’ of the Alliance, as if it has been Russia expanding its territory toward the Alliance all these years, and not vice versa,” said Antonov, blaming NATO officials for employing the “same old master-and-apprentice” approach toward Russia.
He said it is regretful that all the useful good things that have been developed with the NATO countries in the military sphere, including in the context of the fight against terrorism and in Afghanistan, have been discarded and forgotten today very easily.
Russia will not tolerate any attempt to dictate to it how to act and will retaliate against any military advances of NATO member states close to Russia’s borders, such as the stationing of a missile defense system “with regard to our own military and technical capabilities,” Antonov said.