The relations between Russia and NATO, and by proxy, the security situation as a whole are steadily deteriorating with each passing year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
According to Shoigu, NATO isn’t and isn’t even attempting to minimize the existing threats.
“Our partners, naturally led by the United States, are coming out of more and more agreements, and the security space is becoming narrower and narrower, and the threats that existed before that – it seemed to us that we had possibilities and opportunities to move along minimizing them even further. Unfortunately, this is not only impeded, but it is getting worse every year,” he said.
He said that Russia was ready to continue cooperation and discussion with NATO.
The NATO states, at the December 3rd-4th summit, once again, called Russia one of the main threats to their security and called for strengthening its deterrence and improving dialogue with it.
Shoigu said that Moscow’s proposals for cooperation with NATO lacked any sort of response. This includes anti-terror operations in Syria, among other things.
“On our part, all doors are open. We are ready for such cooperation,” Shoigu said.
At the same time, NATO member states are looking for all sorts of justification to carry out more “defensive” military drills, these are also tied to accusations that Russia moving troops to the Arctic is a sort of preparation for possible aggression.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Sulberg said that Russia is allegedly engaged in the construction of the northernmost fighter air base in the world. It will allegedly be located on Franz Josef Land, approximately 1000 kilometers from the North Pole.
The base will be called “Nagurskoye” or “Nagurskaya”, the Norwegian television channel TV 2 reported with reference to Danish military intelligence.
From this base, according to Danish intelligence, Russian planes will be able to reach the north-eastern border of Greenland, and with the help of missiles carry out an attack on the US’ northernmost Thule Air Base.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Sulberg told the channel that Russia’s construction of an air base in that region “fits into the already well-known picture.”
“Russia is strengthening its military power, including in the north, it has become faster, more mobile, it has more equipment and capabilities. But in essence it doesn’t change anything for us. We just need to create a defense system that, taking into account our membership in the alliance, would be enough to restrain aggression,” said Sulberg.
She added that Norway regularly reports to its NATO allies about the growth of Russian armaments in the Arctic.
“Our task within NATO is to be the eyes and ears of the alliance in the north,” the prime minister added.
In May, Danish Minister of Defense Klaus Jort Frederiksen did not rule out that Copenhagen would transfer fighter jets to Greenland if Russian military aircraft, which are planned to be deployed on Franz Josef Land archipelago, violate Greenland airspace.
In addition, Denmark announced that it is tripling military spending on military programs in the Arctic region against the “Russian threat” and the growing split between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other, which could lead to a military conflict in the Arctic.
Denmark is increasing funding for Arctic programs from the defense budget over a three-year period by 1.5 billion Danish kroner (220 million dollars), which is three times more than previously planned.
According to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, these funds will be used to strengthen the country’s defensive capabilities in the Arctic region against the backdrop of an “increasing Russian threat.”
The bulk of the allocated funds will be used to monitor airspace and organize tracking of Russian submarines near Greenland.
Earlier, Copenhagen accused Moscow of conducting active military activities in the Arctic, which significantly “aggravates the situation.”
Finally, for Defender 2020, the NATO exercise that will see the deployment of 20,000 US troops to Europe, in addition to 17,000 NATO troops already here, the US would deploy most of its personnel to the Baltic States.
“A battalion of paratroopers will land in Latvia. Another battalion will also be delivered to Estonia by sea, which will take part in the Spring Storm exercises with the first and second brigades. If a total of 20,000 people are expected to arrive as part of the Defender Europe exercises, 1,500 of them will be to Estonia,” said Colonel Mati Tikerpuu, head of the training department of the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces.
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