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Moscow Slams NATO For Focusing On 'Nonexistent' Russia Threat

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russia has slammed NATO for focusing on what it called a "nonexistent" threat from Russia at a summit in Warsaw.

During the two-day conference, alliance leaders endorsed new major troop deployments in Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s forcible annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and its backing for armed separatists in Ukraine.

"A preliminary analysis of the results of the meeting shows that NATO continues to exist in some sort of military-political looking-glass world," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 10.

The statement added: "Contrary to the objective interests of maintaining peace and stability in Europe... the alliance concentrates its efforts on deterring a nonexistent threat from the east."

The spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said in a statement that Moscow will seek explanations for the alliance's plans at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on July 13.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said it will seek explanation from NATO for a Finnish plan to improve air defenses over the Baltic Sea.

NATO has previously said it is looking to step up defense cooperation with Finland and Sweden by way of more joint exercises and increased information-sharing following increased activity by the Russian military in the air and the sea.

Part of the NATO summit, which concluded on July 9, was dominated by the formal authorization of plans for multinational battalions of up to 1,000 troops each to be stationed on a rotating basis in Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The battalions will be led by the United States, Canada, Britain, and Germany.

NATO officials termed the deployment a direct response to Russian belligerence and the biggest such move by the alliance since the end of the Cold War.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on July 9 that a "more assertive" Russia has built up its military capabilities, modernized its armed forces, and tripled its defense spending in recent years.

He also said Moscow has been "willing to use military force against neighbors, against Ukraine, illegally annexing Crimea, and destabilizing eastern Ukraine."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and TASS
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