The buildup of NATO troops in the Baltic States, Poland and Germany increases the risk of incidents and poses a threat to Russian security, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov said, while giving assurances that Russia will be able to protect its citizens.
“This deployment is of course a threat for us,” Meshkov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, adding that Moscow is closely following the moves by NATO.
“And who said that it will end with this? We don’t have such information,” the Russian deputy foreign minister added.
The rotation principle used by NATO near Russian borders allows the bloc to train thousands of troops, who could then be put into action, Meshkov said.
“It’s obvious that the steps by NATO gravely increase the risk of incidents [between the alliance and Russian forces],” Meshkov warned.
“For the first time since World War II we see German soldiers along our borders,” he said, referring to the Lithuanian announcement that over 130 German troops, out of the planned 450 servicemen and 100 tanks, have arrived in the country.
The diplomat noted however that Moscow has repeatedly said that its own security was guaranteed.
He also said Moscow is still ready for dialogue with NATO, but added that “their every action will be followed by either a positive or negative answer. That’s the law of life.”
The US has deployed thousands of troops and heavy weaponry to the Baltic States, Poland and southeastern Europe, with the buildup intensified in the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, after Donald Trump announced plans to mend relations with Moscow.