President Vladimir Putin
In an interview with the Italian website Corriere della Sera, Russian president Vladimir Putin made revealing statements regarding his stance on NATO.
In the West, Putin’s Russia is largely seen as acting downright aggressively towards Ukraine and Crimea, causing many eastern European countries to bolster their defense programs and act cautiously in regards to Russia.
Putin made it clear in this interview that he thought it was NATO and the US that the world ought to fear.
“US military spending is higher than that of all countries in the world taken together,” Putin told the Italian news website. “The aggregate military spending of NATO countries is 10 times, note – 10 times higher than that of the Russian Federation.”
He stressed that Russia has virtually no military bases abroad, and that they’ve been happy to disarm and disband his foreign holdings while the US has maintained theirs: “We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on. This means that our policy in this respect is not global, offensive or aggressive.”
Putin contests that Russia’s increasingly provocative behavior is defensive, saying: “Everything we do is just a response to the threats emerging against us.”
It seems that NATO’s expansion is what really irks Putin: “We are not expanding anywhere; it is NATO infrastructure, including military infrastructure, that is moving towards our borders.”
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Hundreds of NATO troops with heavy equipment began a military exercise in Poland on Tuesday, testing the alliance’s rapid response readiness in the face of new security challenges on its eastern flank.
The so-called spearhead force was agreed upon at a NATO summit last year in reaction to Russia’s role in the separatist fighting in Ukraine which has raised security concerns in other nearby nations that were once under Moscow’s dominance.
“It is our unconditional priority to have NATO’s eastern flank strengthened,” Deputy Foreign Minister Henryka Moscicka-Dendys said when asked about the role of the Noble Jump exercises. “I feel safe.
“The deployment exercise began with German and Dutch troops arriving near the southwestern Polish city of Zielona Gora to test the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. It will soon move to a test range in nearby Zagan, where more than 2,000 troops will train.
A mobilization exercise was held in April in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The current exercise tests deployment procedures by road, rail and air.
Allied Shield exercises will be held this summer in the region and will involve 14,000 troops from 19 NATO members and three partner nations.
A multinational naval exercise opened on the Baltic Sea last week.
Source: Yahoo News
Russia has refused to sign off on the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s annual report because the document lists a nuclear reactor near Crimea’s Sevastopol as being in Ukraine, two diplomats present at the meeting told Reuters on Monday.
Russia annexed Crimea last year, but most countries still consider it part of Ukraine. Monday’s move by Russia is unlikely to block the report, but raises serious questions about jurisdiction in the contested area.
Ukraine protested against Russia’s move at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s quarterly board of governors meeting, one Western diplomat said.
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