Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country’s armed forces “are not threatening anyone” but are necessary “to effectively provide for the security of our own country and people.”
Putin made the comments on November 12 during a visit to a defense contractor in Yaroslavl.
The president noted that Russia’s military has “increased many times over” the number of drills it conducts, including snap drills, “which for some reason from time to time worries our counterparts.”
“When they have drills, we do not worry,” Putin said. “But for some reason they begin worrying at once. They are so nervous.”
There has been a sharp increase in the number of interactions between Russian and NATO military forces in recent months. On November 10, the Russian Navy said it forced a Dutch submarine that was allegedly near its naval task force in the eastern Mediterranean Sea to withdraw.
“Such clumsy attempts to dangerously maneuver within the immediate proximity of a group of Russian vessels could lead to grave navigation accidents,” a Russian Defense Ministry official said.
NATO countered that it is monitoring the flotilla in a “measured and responsible way.”