Moscow is seeking to create a “zone of influence through military means”, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday, adding that the alliance has observed major and aggressive manoeuvres on the Russian side.
“We are observing massive militarization at NATO borders — in the Arctic, in the Baltic, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea,” Stoltenberg told Germany daily Bild in an interview.
“Russia is trying to build up a zone of influence through military means,” he said.
“We are registering aggressive, unannounced, large-scale manoeuvres on the Russian side. Therefore we must act,” said Stoltenberg, justifying the alliance’s decision to deploy battalions to the Baltic states and Poland.
“What we are doing is defensive, we do not want to provoke conflict, rather, we want to prevent conflict. We want to show our partners that we’re there when they need us,” added the NATO secretary-general.