12:31 GMT12 May 2021
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    Washington was planning to store some 1,200 pieces of heavy military equipment in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Estonia and, possibly, in Hungary, according to media reports.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Reports pointing out at US plans to store military equipment on NATO's "eastern flank" near the Russian border indicate that Washington is aiming to undermine a key provision of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    Western media earlier reported that Washington was planning to store some 1,200 pieces of heavy military equipment, including 250 main battle tanks, in Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Estonia and, possibly, in Hungary, "to ensure continuous training on rotation basis."

    "This information confirms that the United States and its allies are seriously determined to undermine the key provision of the 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act stipulating that NATO has pledged not to deploy substantial military forces on the territory of the above-mentioned countries on a permanent basis," the ministry said in a statement.

    "This move increases the risks of US military strategy on NATO's 'eastern flank' gaining the "life of its own,' in contrast with reality and political interests of the European peoples, and developing a forward momentum that will be difficult to stop," the statement said.

    NATO has been increasingly building up close to Russia's borders since Crimea broke away from Ukraine and rejoined Russia last March. The bloc has accused Moscow of illegally annexing the peninsula and providing military support to eastern Ukraine's independence supporters, engaged in fighting against Kiev.

    Russia has dismissed the accusations as groundless and voiced concern that NATO's military presence can only further destabilize the region.


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