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    Soldiers from NATO countries attend an opening ceremony of military exercise 'Saber Strike 2015', at the Gaiziunu Training Range in Pabrade some 60km.(38 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Monday, June 8, 2015

    NATO 'Using Anti-Russian Rhetoric as Pretext' to Build Up Forces in Europe

    © AP Photo/ Mindaugas Kulbis
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    The United States and NATO, using anti-Russian sentiment as a pretext, continue to build up armed forces in Europe and have started to deploy a missile defense system, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The United States and NATO are using the anti-Russian rhetoric as a pretext to increase presence in Europe, Gen. Valery Gerasimov said.

    "Using the anti-Russian rhetoric, the United States and the NATO countries continue to increase their units and units of the Armed Forces in Europe, the deployment of a missile defense system is underway," Gerasimov said in an interview aired by the broadcaster Rossiya-24.

    Relations between Russia and NATO soured in 2014 in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. Since then, the alliance has been accusing Moscow of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and enhancing its military presence in Eastern European countries that border Russia.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations and has expressed concern over NATO reinforcements along the country's border. Moscow has stated that NATO’s military buildup and exercises in close proximity to Russia increases tensions and threatens regional and global security.

    Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the country's revised national security strategy stipulated Moscow's readiness to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality, to enhance global security in the Euro-Atlantic area, but the depth of such relations would depend on the alliance's commitment to respecting Russia's legitimate interests and international law.


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