02:37 GMT19 January 2021
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    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)
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    Advanced stealth air-to-surface cruise missiles that the United States plans to install on NATO aircraft can strike targets almost everywhere in European Russia from a safe distance, a senior Russian General Staff official said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States plans to equip its allies in Europe with JASSM-ER long-range cruise missiles, "allowing NATO tactical aircraft to strike facilities some 1,300 kilometers [808 miles] deep into the Russian territory without entering the zone protected by our air defenses," said Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the General Staff's Main Operations Directorate.

    "In case of a military conflict, critically important facilities almost everywhere in European Russia will be subject to NATO airstrikes."

    NATO has sharply increased its military activities near Russian borders since the start of the conflict in Ukraine last year, and their nature is "clearly anti-Russian," chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operations Directorate, Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, said Thursday.

    Kartapolov told participants of the IV Moscow conference on global security:

    "In 2014, the intensity of NATO combat training increased by 80 percent [year-on-year]."

    Citing a number of recent large-scale NATO exercises in the Baltic states, Poland and the Baltic Sea, the general stressed that the Alliance leadership "did not even try to hide their obvious anti-Russian nature.

    Kartapolov also said that NATO doubled air reconnaissance flights near the Russian border in 2014, year-on-year, conducting 750 missions, while the number of missions carried out by AWACS planes increased ninefold, to 182.

    In addition, the general expressed concern over the regular use of US Global Hawk spy drones over the Black Sea since the beginning of 2015, "which increases the depth of intelligence data gathering to 250-300 kilometers [155-185 miles] within the Russian territory."

    NATO Seeks Expansion to Eastern Europe (362)


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    military drills, NATO, aggression, NATO expansion, Andrei Kartapolov, Eastern Europe, Russia
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