UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Russia will respond diplomatically and militarily to NATO’s biggest training since 2002, to be held in Norway in October and November, a foreign ministry official said Friday.
At the forum “Army 2018” held on the outskirts of Moscow, the Ambassador of the Foreign Ministry, Russia’s delegate to the Arctic Council, Vladimir Barbin, that the exercises will take place in the territory of Norway and the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean with the participation of about 40 thousand soldiers and 150 aircraft and 70 warships.
The diplomat pointed out that tension in relations between Russia and the West cast a shadow over the Arctic region, where “the sanctions imposed on Moscow projects in the oil and gas sector, and the collapse of military communications, NATO is dragged in the affairs of the region and strengthen the military presence of NATO near the border Russian”.
Barbin said an agreement had been reached on the formation of a new NATO-led Joint Forces Command based in Norfolk, Virginia, to be responsible for protecting transport in the Arctic and North Atlantic.
The diplomat also confirmed that the United States to reconstitute the second American fleet, which was dismantled after the end of the Cold War, whose ships are often located in the North Atlantic.
“All of these factors must be taken into consideration and necessary diplomatic and military responses must be developed in a timely manner, and our choice remains a civilized negotiated solution to all differences in order to ensure peace and stability in the Arctic through the development of international cooperation.”
NATO military forces have begun to arrive in Norway to participate in the exercises, which would be a demonstration of NATO’s capabilities to “deter Russia,” NATO commander in Europe Curtis Scaparrotti said.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern about the unprecedented activity of NATO near its western border. The Kremlin has previously declared that Russia poses no threat to anyone, but will not tolerate moves that may be dangerous to its national interests.
Commenting on accusations against Russia of aggressive conduct, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was unfounded, noting that the Atlantic Air Force’s activity in the Baltic Sea outweighed Russian air force activity in the region. Putin also said that US military spending exceeds all other countries’ combined spending.