Speaking at a briefing for military attaches, Gerasimov recalled that Brussels' doctrinal documents assigned adversary status to Russia, and during the December NATO summit a significant increase in the speed of reinforcements' redeployment to the "eastern flank" of the alliance was announced. He also mentioned a big increase in NATO military expenditures since 2016.
"Work continues on the deployment of US missile defence components in Europe. In the Baltic countries and Poland, the Black and Baltic seas, military activity is intensifying, the intensity of the bloc's military exercises is rising. Their scenarios point to NATO’s targeted preparation for engaging its forces in a large-scale military conflict," Gerasimov said.
Gerasimov noted that the reduction of risks of dangerous military incidents should remain the most important priority in Moscow’s dialogue with the United States and NATO.
According to Gerasimov, against the backdrop of the increasing NATO activity on the "eastern flank" of the alliance, the Western allies are simultaneously promoting the thesis on the so-called "Russian military threat."
He stressed that the actions of the alliance are increasing tension and reducing the level of security on the Russia-NATO contact line.
"The reduction of risks of dangerous military incidents should remain the most important area in the dialogue between Russia with the United States and NATO. It is necessary to resume interaction between Russia and NATO in order to resolve the accumulated problematic issues," Gerasimov said as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
Valery Gerasimov has also pointed out that there are no prerequisites for a large-scale war, but it cannot be ruled out that new crises may get out of control and develop into a large-scale military conflict.
Gerasimov was responding to a question by Norway's representative if there was a possibility of a major war in the future until 2050 and in what areas it could be waged.
"In our opinion, there are currently no prerequisites for a large-scale war. At the same time, the situation in the world remains unstable, and its development is becoming more and more dynamic. Unprecedented political, economic and information pressure is exerted on states trying to pursue an independent policy, including Russia," he said as quoted by the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
"In such conditions, we can't rule out that crises could emerge that may get out of control and develop into a large-scale military conflict," Gerasimov said.
He said Russia should be ready for any scenario.
“We must be prepared for any scenario of the development of the situation. Therefore, the defence potential of Russia will now and in the future be maintained at a level required to repel any-scale aggression against our state from any environment,” Gerasimov said.
Russia's Peresvet Laser System, Su-57 Jets
The chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces revealed that Russia's Peresvet laser system has been used to cover Russian missile systems since December 2019.
"Since early December, Peresvet laser systems have been on combat duty in the positional areas of mobile ground missile systems with the task of covering up their maneuvering operations," Gerasimov said addressing foreign military attaches as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
During his annual address to the Federal Assembly last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had developed a number of strategic weapons, including Avangard and Kinzhal hypersonic missile systems, and underwater drone called Poseidon and laser weapon called Peresvet.
The Russian Defence Ministry said in January that all Peresvet ground-based combat laser systems that had been already in service with the Russian Armed Forces were put on combat duty in testing regime at their designated sites.
Gerasimov has also said Russia's fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jets have successfully undergone the second stage of tests in Syria.
"The tests of fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jets continue. They undergone second stage of tests in Syria, during which all the planned tasks were successfully performed," Gerasimov said as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in February 2018 that two advanced Su-57 fighter jets had been deployed on combat training missions in Syria. In November 2018, the Russian Defence Ministry for the first time published footage demonstrating the combat performance of Su-57 jets in Syria.
The Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet, formerly known as Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA), is a single-seat, twin-engine multirole "stealth" aircraft designed for air superiority and attack roles. It is equipped with an advanced avionics system and airborne active phased array radar as well as with a variety of high-precision weaponry. The jet carried out its maiden flight in 2010.
Russia in Syria
According to Gerasimov, Russia is not going to increase the number of troops in Syria, while sending additional military police personnel is a temporary measure.
"To date, the Russian group of troops in the Syrian Arab Republic has enough resources and equipment to provide effective assistance to the Syrian government army in the fight against international terrorist organizations. In this regard, the quantitative composition of our military bases in Hmeimim and Tartus remains unchanged," Gerasimov said as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
At the same time, Russian military police units have to perform more and more tasks as a result of the liberation of new territories from militants, according to Gerasimov.
"They are currently engaged in patrol missions in Kobani and Jazira cantons, as well as activities to monitor compliance with the ceasefire around the perimeter of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring. This has required the involvement of additional military police units on a temporary basis," Gerasimov added.
Gerasimov noted that nearly 500,000 Syrian refugees and 1.3 million internally displaced Syrians have returned home over the past one and a half year due to the assistance of the Russian Defence Ministry.
"As part of efforts to normalize a peaceful life, the Russian Defence Ministry continues to actively assist the Syrian government in the return of refugees. To resolve these issues, the interdepartmental coordination headquarters on refugees' return effectively operates in Moscow and the center for refugee reception, distribution and settlement operates in Damascus. Over the past one and a half year, they have helped to return 495,000 refugees to the Syrian territory. A total of 1.3 million internally displaced persons have returned to their homes," Gerasimov said as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
Russia launched a military operation against terrorist groups in Syria in September 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. On 11 December 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of a significant portion of Russian troops from the country, a week after his announcement that the Daesh* terrorist group was defeated in Syria. However, Russian servicemen have remained at Russia's naval facility in the city of Tartus and Hmeimim air base in order to continue helping maintain security in the country.
Russia along with Turkey and Iran are guarantors of the ceasefire regime in Syria. Moscow has also been providing humanitarian aid to residents of the crisis-torn country.
* Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia