Meetings of the Defence Ministers at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Press Conference, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Photo: NATO
Chuck Hagel (US Secretary of Defence) photographed at the press conference after yesterdays meeting in Brussels where the defense ministers of the NATO member-states announced that NATO’s Response Force would be doubled to include up to 30.000 people. (Photo: NATO)

Russian Envoy: – NATO Expansion Will Lead to “Adequate” Response

– NATO’s recent decision to set up additional command centers in six different countries will inevitably lead to “adequate” changes in Russia’s military planning, the country’s envoy to the alliance, Alexander Grushko, told Russian journalists yesterday.

During a meeting in Brussels yesterday the defense ministers of the NATO member-states agreed on the creation of six new command and control posts in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. The ministers also announced that NATO’s Response Force would be doubled, to include up to 30.000 people.

The decision “creates a great risk for Russia”, primarily in the Baltics, which could become a region of “military confrontation”, the Russian envoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko stressed.

This is reported by the Russian news agency Sputnik today.

“Serious changes in the situation”

According to Grushko the “serious changes in the military-political situation” along the Russian border will “naturally” lead to changes in Russia’s military planning, to ensure the country’s security.

– The opening up of additional military potential along our borders is nothing more than an attempt to exert pressure on Russia, Grushko said, before he added that Russia’s response will be “adequate” in any case.

Yesterday NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced the creation of a joint training center in Georgia. This, Grushko said, will also contribute to geopolitical tensions and aggravation of regional security. Accordring to him, the training center is a step that can’t be considered anything but provocation.

– There is no necessity for NATO to create any (training) centers,” Grushko said, stressing that countries in the Black Sea region are capable of ensuring their own security.

The training center will be set up in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to train both Georgian and NATO troops.


Growing concern

Over the last months Russia have expressed growing concern over the buildup of NATO forces along its western border.

If the alliance should decide to give lethal aid to Kiev it could have “unpredictable” results, Grushko has stressed.

The Russian journalists quote him saying:

– NATO tells us that it does not supply anything, that lethal arms are not being supplied (to Ukraine). The NATO leadership draws a line between supplies from the alliance and declares that NATO does not have weapons, all weapons are national, there are no NATO systems per se…however, from the perspective of the situation on the ground there would be no difference whether weapons would be supplied by NATO or separate NATO member-states.

McCain continues to urge Obama

– In either case, we presume that these deliveries are unacceptable, they would significantly aggravate the situation (in Ukraine) and could lead to the most dangerous and unpredictable consequences, the envoy stressed.

Yesterday German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that Germany will pursue a peaceful solution to the conflict, and that the country will not provide weapons to Ukraine. However, John McCain, Chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, continues to urge the Barack Obama administration with lethal assistance.

Merkel and Hollande in Moscow

This morning Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande went to Moscow with a new peace roadmap for Ukraine. According to the news agency Sputnik the blueprint, based on the Minsk Protocol, reflects both Germany and France growing concern about planned deliveries of US lethal weapons to Ukraine. Merkel and Hollande earlier discussed the plan with Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian President.

– Moscow hopes that the plan initiated by the French and German leaders to settle the Ukrainian crisis includes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestions, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov told Sputnik yesterday.

Russia's enyoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russia’s enyoy to NATO, Alexander Grushko. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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