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NATO, U.S. Deny Posing Any Security Threat To Russia

January 06, 2016

NATO and the United States are denying that the alliance's expansion into eastern Europe and increased activity there poses any menace to Russia as Moscow asserted in its new security doctrine.

'We categorically reject totally unfounded claims that NATO and its policies constitute a security threat' for Moscow, Oana Lungescu, spokesman for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said January 5.

Lungescu added that NATO is still studying the new doctrine signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, which accuses NATO of violating international law and moving its military infrastructure closer to Russia's borders.

Last month, NATO invited Montenegro to begin accession talks to become its 29th member, while it has since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 sharply increased the alliance's troop presence and military exercises in eastern European states that border Russia.

Still, Lungescu insisted 'NATO's enlargement is not directed against anyone,' and that each sovereign nation 'has the right to choose for itself whether it joins any treaty or alliance.'

The United States similarly dismissed Russian concerns on January 4.

'We are not looking for conflict with Russia,' Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters in Washington.

'They have no reason to consider us a threat,' he said. 'We have our differences... But it's fundamentally wrong to look at the United States as a threat to Russia.'

Despite the denials, U.S. military officials have increasingly used similar language to describe what they say is a growing threat to western security from Moscow.

In July, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the top military adviser to President Barack Obama, said Russia posed the biggest threat to American national security of all the potential threats in the world today.

Russian officials on January 5 continued to warn about a growing menace from NATO.

In an interview with TASS, Russia's Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko dismissed efforts to play down NATO's growing presence near Russian borders through frequent rotations of temporary forces.

'The practical steps already being taken by the alliance to bolster its 'eastern flank' contravene the spirit and the letter ofthe relevant commitments' in the Russia-NATO Founding Act, a peace treaty he said was 'disintegrating.'

'If one does not get too excited with NATO's sophisticated terms like 'continuous rotation of military forces,' the plan is to deploy permanent military potential along our borders, a measure that will require steps to reliably ensure our security,' he said.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and TASS


Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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