Russian representative: Moscow concerned about new military dimension in Baltic relations (13)
According to Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko, NATO’s enlargement in the region is effectively introducing a military dimension to Moscow’s relations with Poland and the Baltics that did not previously exist.
Speaking at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) on Thursday, Grushko stated that the alliance’s enlargement and deployment of additional troops “...is leading to a situation where instead of tackling the actual agenda, we have to revisit what seemingly became history a long time ago, and analyze the possibilities that NATO is acquiring in terms of strength” by deploying additional troops.
In recent months, a number of NATO allies, including the US and the UK, have responded to contiued Russian aggression against Ukraine by committing to deploying more troops and even military equipment to Eastern Europe, Poland, and also specifically the Baltic region in the coming months and years to increase security in the region and act as a deterrent to similar Russian aggression elsewhere in Eastern Europe, including toward member states of NATO and the EU.
Most recently, following a summit of V4, Baltic, and Nordic foreign ministers in Latvia last week, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian news agency MTI that beginning in 2017, each member state of the V4, or Visegrád Group, which consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, would send a unit of soldiers to the Baltics in a rotation of three-month shifts in support of efforts to increase NATO presence in the Baltic region, noting that this would mean 150 soldiers at a time from each country stationed in the region.
“What causes particular concern is that, with such actions, NATO is effectively introducing a military dimension into relations with our partners,” Grushko noted.
“Let us speak frankly: there has never been a military dimension in our relations with the Baltic countries and Poland,” he added.