The build-up of Russian military forces in the Crimea is not directed at anyone, including NATO. According to RIA Novosti, this was said by Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko.

 

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“Somehow, there exists a kind of contrived element of intimidation of public opinion if we talk about the perception of what we are doing in the Crimea. NATO is actually well aware that a very serious Russian component has always been present in the Crimea at all times,” Grushko explained.

 

According to him, there is not only a marine component, but also ground and air, as well as serious anti-ship components and the potential for anti-aircraft warfare.

 

“Therefore, what we are doing today is nothing new for NATO in terms of the balance of forces”, Grushko said.

 

He did however admit that the Russian military planning process has to take the changes that occur on its southern borders into account.

 

“We see NATO’s reinforcement of the eastern wing, which was discussed at the summit in Wales and Warsaw, has acquired quite a concrete shape. We see frequent visits of vessels of non-regional states into the Black Sea, and we hear calls for creating some kind of a NATO grouping in the Black Sea basin. All of this should not escape our attention,” Grushko added.