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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia accuses NATO of expansionism

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 5, 2015 8:19PM

Russia's deputy defense minister has accused NATO of using the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext to deploy forces to territories closer to Russian borders, saying the alliance has hugely expanded its military activities in recent years.

"We've noticed that NATO member states are using the situation in southeastern Ukraine as a pretext to discard all diplomatic conventions, tricks and slogans and push forward, closer to the Russian border," said Anatoly Antonov, as cited in a Thursday report by RT.

According to the senior military official, NATO's measures are entirely out of proportion with what NATO commanders describe as a build-up of forces on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine, saying, "NATO's activities are many times greater than Russia's."

He was apparently referring to NATO's huge military drills in Eastern Europe and naval exercises in the Black Sea.

Antonov said the major aim of the Western alliance is to contain Russia and target Moscow for refusing to play along with its own rules.

"Instead of uniting forces to fight evil, the worst of which is terrorism, Western nations are drawing new divisive lines, trying to realize containment schemes against unwelcome states. Today, Russia has been chosen as the target," he said.

The Russian deputy defense minister said that such efforts do not bode well for healthy relations between Washington and Moscow.

"Throughout my military and diplomatic career, I haven't seen another period when Russian-American relations have been so difficult," said the Russian official.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich also said on Thursday that 300 American troops were already in Ukraine, training local military service members near the city of Lvov.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman further censured Washington's push to provide lethal aid for Ukrainian military forces, especially "in light of the rather successful implementation of [Minsk] ceasefire agreements reached on February 12."

"Weapon supplies may cause not only the failure of the ceasefire and a new escalation of violence in the south east [of Ukraine], but also pose a threat to Russia's security," Lukashevich said.

MFB/HJL/AS



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