02:22 GMT28 January 2020
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    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)

    The NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland fanned dangerous tensions in Europe and approved military exercises against Russia unparalleled in scale since the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Kiriakou gained international recognition as the only person the US government sent to prison for exposing the President George W. Bush administration's torture program.

    "This Warsaw summit looks likely to have far-reaching consequences," Kiriakou said on Friday. "Far from deterring any real or imagined threat from Russia, the NATO buildup and massive military exercises are creating one and fanning the flames of dangerous tensions."

    At the first day of the summit on Friday, the 28 NATO members agreed to further boost the alliance’s military presence in its Eastern European states, making the biggest military reinforcement in that region since the end of the Cold War, Kiriakou noted.

    "This is of special concern because the likelihood of a military clash in the air or at sea — accidental or intentional — is growing sharply."

    Veteran experts in the field of European security were shaking their heads in disbelief because Western leaders seemed oblivious to the threat Russians perceived from seeing military exercises on a huge scale held in the areas that were traditional launch points for invading their country, Kiriakou observed.

    NATO policymakers did not realize "what it means to the Russians to witness exercises on a scale not seen since Hitler’s armies invaded the Soviet Union 75 years ago, leaving 25 million Soviet citizens dead."

    US and NATO leaders were therefore being extremely foolish and naïve to imagine that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not take countermeasures to such activities at a time and place of his choosing, Kiriakou explained.

    "[R]ussia is bound to react to what it regards as the unwarranted provocation of large military exercises along its western borders."

    Before tensions deteriorated even further, seasoned NATO leaders needed to make very clear to Moscow that they still valued statesmanship and give-and-take diplomacy over threats and saber rattling, Kiriakou advised.

    Otherwise, Kiriakou argued that whether by accident or design, a military clash with Russia was likely.

    "It is alarming in the extreme that many second-generation NATO leaders seem blithely unaware and even dismissive of that all-too-real possibility."

    Russia-NATO Relations Reach a New Low (121)


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