MOSCOW, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - Statements that Russia allegedly threatens Ukraine and Europe with a military invasion are “nonsense,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told Rossiya24 TV channel Wednesday.
“All the horror stories that Russia will take over Ukraine today and tomorrow the Russian troops will reach the English Channel, Bordeaux and the Cote d'Azur are complete nonsense. We are engaged in regular daily activities aimed at improving combat readiness and effectiveness of the armed forces,” Antonov said.
He also dismissed the West’s allegations that the Russian Federation is continuing to build up troops on the border with Ukraine. He mentioned that the reported figures of troop concentration stood at 200,000 people, 120,000, 100,000, 60,000, 40,000, and “now they say that 30,000 are on the border.”
“All these figures are deceitful, and constitute the elements of unfair information war,” Antonov commented, reminding the public about recent inspections on Russian border with Ukraine, when the inspectors had the opportunity to photograph military convoys and communicate with their respective commanders.
“The results of the inspections did not identify any activity as a source of concern,” the deputy head of the Defense Ministry concluded.
Refuting the allegations of Russian military threat, Antonov pointed to the fact that NATO forces in Europe have a threefold advantage in tanks and armored cars to Russia.
“NATO has 10, 000 tanks in Europe, and we have 3, 500. NATO has 22,000 armored vehicles, we have about 7, 500. This is a good example,” he said, stressing that Russia remains fully compliant with all the international agreements, while NATO presence in Europe is hardly consistent with non-military objectives.
NATO has repeatedly blamed Russia for the escalation of tensions in Ukraine and building up arms and troops on the country’s border. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia to pull back the alleged troops from the border with Ukraine. His earlier statements also suggested pro-federalization rallies that swept through eastern Ukraine were staged by pro-Russian separatists.