BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — NATO has been reinforcing its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia's alleged interference in that conflict as justification for the move. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling NATO's military buildup near Russia's borders provocative.
"NATO does not represent any threat whatsoever against Russia, but, of course, we have an obligation to defend our members against any attacks <…> so, in light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, we have to react to that situation and we have to deploy more resources to Romania, to Bulgaria, to Poland that are all at the border of Russia. I regret to say, but that’s how it is," Rasmussen said.the ex-chief noted in an interview with Sputnik.
"Of course, it can't be business as usual as long as Russia continues to destabilize eastern Ukraine, so that's our problem. My plea is that Russia, in accordance with the Minsk deal, withdraws from eastern Ukraine and that border control between Russia and Ukraine is restored so that it is Ukraine that has border control. Then, of course, we can talk about resuming some of these activities," Rasmussen said.