The publication of a report about the dangers of escalating military exercises from the European Leadership Institute think tank prompted an angry reaction at NATO, whose spokeswoman Carmen Romero blamed Russia for obstructing cooperation.
The report analyzes Russia's March 2015 snap exercise and the NATO June 2015 "Allied Shield" exercise. According to the report, while both sides focus on their "most exposed areas" geographically the exercises nevertheless creates a risk of conflict. NATO blasted the report, saying that it "misleadingly puts NATO and Russian exercises on par," which one of the authors of the reports denied.
"[W]hile one side may aim its actions at strengthening deterrence and preparing for defensive actions, the other side perceives the same exercises as provocative and deliberate aggravation of the crisis. In the current climate of mistrust, the exercises can feed uncertainty in an almost classic illustration of the 'security dilemma' written about by many scholars of international affairs," the report said.
In its response, NATO nearly telegraphed the logic expressed in the report, which warns why using such logic may be dangerous and could eventually lead to war. NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow also tweeted that that NATO exercises do not create any risks.
Even though the report did not accuse NATO of anything, the organization also felt the need to accuse Russia of holding exercises that are "unpredictable and bring instability."
NATO also claimed that its exercises are transparent, giving a link to what appears to be a partial list of exercises which are conducted by NATO and some of its members. The total number of exercises is unclear, as only some national exercises are included and the list focuses on drills conducted by NATO as an alliance rather than individual member states.
NATO also claimed that it "has already taken new initiatives to keep political and military channels of communication with Russia open." Russia and NATO previously communicated through the NATO-Russia council, but the organization suspended meetings in June 2014.