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.
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.