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NATO Pays 'Very Close Attention' to Activities of Russia, China in Europe

© AP Photo / Laurent ReboursA German officer of the NATO contingent deployed in Macedonia looks through his binoculars
A German officer of the NATO contingent deployed in Macedonia looks through his binoculars - Sputnik International
Following the deterioration of relations between Moscow and Western states in 2014, NATO forces have intensified drills in Europe, as well as reconnaissance flights near Russia’s borders.

Newly appointed NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Tod Wolters stated during his speech at the 2019 GLOBSEC Bratislava forum that the alliance is closely watching the actions of both Russia and China in Europe, amid tense relations between Moscow and Western countries and Washington's rivalry with Beijing.

"My first concern, when folks mention Russia and China is the word ‘vigilance’ […] We have certainly seen over the course of the last several years China increasing their economic involvement on the European continent […] and obviously we pay very, very close attention to what Russia is doing on our continent", he said.

Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile launching system is displayed at the exposition field in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow on August 22, 2017 during the first day of the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017 - Sputnik International
S-400 Not Interoperable With NATO Systems, May Exploit F-35 Capabilities - NATO Commander

Commenting on recent statements about the strategic nature of the cooperation between Russia and China made by the presidents of the two countries, Wolters said that NATO is also "keeping [its] vigilance up" on the activities between Moscow and Beijing. At the same time, he doubted the "sincerity" of the relationship between the two countries.

Forces of the Atlantic Alliance have actively been conducting drills in Europe, including near Russia’s borders. NATO and US reconnaissance jets and drones have also been regularly snooping around Russia’s borders since relations between Moscow and the Western states began to deteriorate in 2014 after the Ukraine crisis.

READ MORE: US Navy Ship Enters Baltic Sea For Drills as NATO Beefs Up Activities

In light of the decline in ties with NATO countries and the increasing military presence of the military bloc near Russia’s borders, Moscow has deployed S-400 air defence systems in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave in the Baltics, to the frustration of the US, which has called the move "destabilising".

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