MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – NATO is set to continue its military pressure on Russia and has held numerous exercises on Russia's border, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said Tuesday.
"It is evident that our colleagues from NATO are set to continue military pressure on Russia, which… is unlikely to make Europe safer," Sergei Koshelyev, the head of the Defense Ministry's department for international military cooperation, told journalists.
"In the past six months, the alliance has held five exercises to amass various forces near the Russian border, including NATO rapid response forces," he added.
NATO is currently holding Trident Juncture exercises in Estonia from November 9 through November 17. The aim of the drills is to test "NATO's ability to coordinate and execute a NATO-led Article 5 Collective Defence operation in a multinational environment," according to the NATO website.
According to Koshelyev, the alliance's drills have a specific anti-Russian objective, as Estonia is "bordered by only 'small friendly countries' with the exception of the Russian Federation."
Over the past few months, NATO has increasing the number of forces stationed in the Baltics after a political crisis erupted in Ukraine and Crimea reunified with Russia in March. The alliance explained the measures with the need to ensure the security of its allies.
On April 1, NATO ended all practical cooperation with Russia over Ukraine, only maintaining contact at the ambassadorial and higher levels.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the increasing and excessive NATO military presence close to its borders.
In late September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called NATO expansion in Eastern Europe a "mistake" and a "provocation" that undermines the whole European security system.
NATO Drills in Estonia Have Specific Anti-Russian Orientation: Ministry
NATO exercises currently being held in Estonia have a specific anti-Russian orientation and prove that the Alliance plans on continuing to pressure Russia, a Russian Defense spokesman said Tuesday.
“From the geographical point of view, Estonia, where the exercises are being conducted, is bordered by only ‘small friendly countries’ with the exception of the Russian Federation,” said Sergei Koshelyev, the head of the Defense Ministry’s department for international military cooperation.
NATO is currently holding Trident Juncture exercises in Estonia from November 9 through November 17. The exercises include drills of what the military needs to do at various levels if one of the NATO countries is attacked by an unnamed “enemy from a large state.”
“It follows that the NATO exercises have a specific anti-Russian orientation,” Koshelyev said.