12:04 GMT +330 August 2016
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Portuguese Fuzileiros secure an area after disembarking from an amphibious transport during an exercise as part of the NATO's Trident Juncture 2015 in Troia, 100 kms south of Lisbon on November 5, 2015

NATO 'Categorically' Denies It's a Security Threat to Russia

© AFP 2016/ FRANCISCO LEONG
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While Russia has called NATO’s expansion one of its main security threats, the Alliance categorically denies any ill-intent toward Moscow – even as it creeps deeper into Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new security doctrine for 2016 which cites the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a primary threat to peace. Putin accused NATO of breaching international law and of advancing its military installations along the Russian border.

On Tuesday, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu stressed that the Alliance rejects any notion that it poses a threat to Russia.

"We categorically reject totally unfounded claims that NATO and its policies constitute a security threat [to Moscow]," Lungescu said, according to the Associated Press. It followed her comment last month that "NATO’s enlargement is not directed against anyone."

But actions speak louder than words, and over the past year, NATO has steadily increased its presence in Russia’s sphere of influence, and conducted a number of provocative, large-scale military drills along Russia’s borders.

In August and September, 5,000 soldiers from 11 NATO member states took part in Swift Response 15, the largest air drills since the end of the Cold War. These occurred across Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania.

In October, the Alliance also enacted "Trident Juncture 2015," which it described as the "largest and most ambitious exercise in over a decade." Those involved roughly 36,000 troops, over 140 aircraft, and 60 warships from all NATO member states. The training scenario involved defending a fictitious country dubbed Lakuta from a “blatant invasion” by a neighboring country called Cerasia, a thinly veiled reference to Russia.

The same month, NATO launched war games in Lithuania. Codenamed "Baltic Piranha," nearly 1,000 soldiers took part, testing military hardware as part of the organization’s Rapid Reaction Force.

The organization’s eastward expansion is also highlighted by its membership invitation to Montenegro, as well as the United States’ deployment of ballistic missile defense system into Eastern Europe.

The Alliance has also steadily sought to increase its permanent presence in Eastern Europe. On Tuesday, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowsk renewed calls to increase NATO’s presence in Poland. President Andrzej Duda plans to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later this month to discuss the proposal.

While NATO expresses outrage over Russia’s new security doctrine, the Alliance has made no secret about the fact that it also views Moscow as a primary threat. In November, Stoltenberg was asked if Trident Juncture was intended to send a message to Moscow.

While claiming that the exercise was generally targeting "any potential adversary," he then went on to tell reporters that "one of the reasons why we have increased our military presence in the eastern part of our alliance [is] Russia deploying advanced military capabilities both in Syria and the eastern part of the Mediterranean."

Then, of course, there is the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber in Syrian airspace, carried out by NATO member Turkey. While Moscow has shown no aggression toward NATO, the Alliance has acted to the contrary.

Related:
NATO Ramps Up European Action With 'Baltic Piranha' War Games in Lithuania
Trident Juncture 2015: What is NATO Training for During Massive War-Games?
With Massive Exercise, NATO Generals Prepare for Yesterday's War
Tags:
NATO, NATO military presence, NATO expansion, military drills, Baltic Piranha, Trident-Juncture-2015, Oana Lungescu, Witold Waszczykowski, Vladimir Putin, Jens Stoltenberg, Montenegro, Baltic Region, Eastern Europe, Europe, Russia
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  • Ann in reply toPolana(Show commentHide comment)
    Polana, "I would say that the encouragement of the German government was of more influence than Washington" -- AND EXACTLY WHO IS IT THAT PULLS GERMANY'S STRINGS? That's right, Washington, same difference. The US should've just done it themselves, it would be more honest.
  • Ann in reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
    anne00marie, The reason Russia would want to join NATO, is because it would be harder for them to justify attacking one of their own members. Think what message that would send to the other NATO members. It would throw it right in their faces that they are NOT members, but PUPPETS. The world would finally learn the truth, up front and personal.
  • michaelin reply torogertidy(Show commentHide comment)
    rogertidy, What planet are these people living on? Unfortunately, ours.
  • michaelin reply toMark Gewiss(Show commentHide comment)
    Mark, I like it! Then NATO could (not)confront China! :)
  • michaelin reply torogertidy(Show commentHide comment)
    rogertidy, hence the recent calls for an E.U. army. But then, given the state of the union at the moment, that may be wishful thinking for some.
  • michaelin reply tocast235(Show commentHide comment)
    cast235, NATO expansion was thought , planned before NAIVE Gorbachev went making the dumbest deals on earth history,

    now there's a man who should be in a cage before a Russian court! The charge - treason.
  • michaelin reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
    anne00marie, the Russian people do have pride and a sense of identity.
  • hopscotch64
    This denial is completely lacking in honesty and an insult to the Russian people. How else would one interpret the military buildup and aggressive military operations of the US/NATO alliance except as threatening? The Ukraine excuse is a red herring. US/NATO leadership needed an excuse so they manufactured one in the Ukraine via an illegal coup. There intention is make the Russian Federation withdraw from the world stage and become another vassal state of the envisioned world corporate government. One can only conclude that Russia is a very large stumbling block to the US/NATO plan of world domination and enslavement. So, what is next, assuming that the US/NATO intimidation does not work; invasion? Russia is acknowledging that very possibility in their new threat assessment.
  • Mark Gewissin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
    michael, Or Iran!
  • Mark Gewissin reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
    sixpack6t9, I agree: it's simply an anti-Russia Pact and nothing else.
  • michaelin reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
    hopscotch64, for both you and Mark; maybe their still playing at the domino theory; Iran, Russia, China, India and then clean up whatever is left.
  • Polanain reply toanne00marie(Show commentHide comment)
    anne00marieanne00marie, The thing is that it's not about Communism and the Soviet Union it's about Russia. Russia is much bigger than it's neighbours and has either dominated or occupied it's neighbours for many centuries as the Russian empire, pre 1917. It's a common aspect of world politics that smaller countries with a more powerful neighbour will seek some form of protection through alliances.
  • Polanain reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
    sixpack6t9, @legitimate governments replaced by Western puppets?
    Against the will of their people? Forced to join? I feel that you're the one who needs to check your history. Your post is a very good account of the events leading to the Communist governments of several Countries post Second World war.
  • Polanain reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
    sixpack6t9, Germany pulls it's own strings in many areas. The idea of Washington being some kind of universal spider is ridiculous, they may try to control things, but they're too incompetent.
  • slobodan
    NATO showed its true meaning in bombing Serbia, Lybia, migrant crisis, together with its inability with ISIL. Other deserves not discussion, special their denials.
  • Ivan Zadorozhny
    Nato must have a goal, and it can't be anything other than targeting Russia.
  • manofsteel194275
    NATO, has no idea what time it is and the orders, coming from whom, why, well, hold onto your hat something is about to pop. America and Europe need Russia like a fish needs water, we will survive together or not at all.
  • margaridaoulman
    Nato can say all it wants actions speak powder than words. Words from Nato have and are only lies, so this no threat again is just one more lie. Nato is a threat to the world not only to Russia.
  • If NATO wasn't a threat to Russia there would be next to no rhetoric out of the usual pieholes in Washington London and around the western world. It's that simple.
  • White_Eagle1in reply toslobodan(Show commentHide comment)
    slobodan, you left out Bosnia, and the entrapment /manipulation of Saddam (sure, we will not do anything if you attack Kuwait for stealing your oil).
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