“AND Of course [a NATO] is a threat to us”the spokesman for the Russian Presidency (Kremlin), Dmitri Peskov, told journalists, assuring that “appropriate measures are constantly being taken” in response.
Peskov said that for decades, NATO “has been constantly moving infrastructure” to Russian borders, in an allusion to the organization’s expansion to the East, one of the Russian arguments for the invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago.
“NATO is an instrument of confrontation”said Peskov, quoted by the French agency AFP.
NATO, an acronym for the English name of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, last week began the largest combat simulation since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, which marked the end of the Cold War.
Called “Steadfast”, the exercise began in the northeast of the United States and will involve resources from the 31 NATO countries, as well as Sweden, which is awaiting Hungary’s approval to join the organization.
The exercise will involve around 90,000 troops from both sides of the Atlantic.
It will test, among other objectives, the Alliance’s ability to quickly mobilize and transport North American troops to “strengthen the defense of Europe”, according to NATO.
The maneuvers will take the form of a conflict scenario against an “adversary of comparable size”, according to Alliance terminology, which refers to Russia without naming it.
Around 50 warships, 80 aircraft and 1,100 combat vehicles will participate in the exercise.
Already difficult relations between NATO and Russia have become extremely tense since the offensive by Russian troops on Ukrainian soil on February 24, 2022.
Before the invasion, Moscow demanded that NATO commit, in the form of a treaty, not to accept the accession of Ukraine and Georgia, as well as to withdraw forces to pre-enlargement positions.
Both demands were refused.
In response to the Russian offensive, Finland became the 31st member of the Alliance in April 2023, while Sweden moved closer to membership in recent days, following Turkey’s “green light”, pending Hungary’s ratification.
Ukraine, Georgia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are countries aspiring to join.
Portugal is one of the 12 founding members of NATO, which was created in 1949.
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