The situation in Ukraine has seen relations between Russia and the West deteriorate to almost Cold War levels.
At a defense conference in Moscow on April 16, Russia warned European countries planning to host installations for a U.S.-led missile-defense shield that Russian forces would be forced to target them.
Further speeches at the conference coincided with a series of high-level Russian leaders repeatedly warning of the perceived threats the United States and NATO pose to Russia.
NATO swiftly responded by saying its missile defense system is not designed or directed against Russia.
“It does not pose a threat to Russia’s strategic deterrent,” said a statement issued by the organization following the Russian allegations. “Geography and physics make it impossible for the NATO system to shoot down Russian intercontinental missiles from NATO sites in Romania or Poland. Their capabilities are too limited, their planned numbers too few, and their locations too far south or too close to Russia to do so,” the NATO statement said.
“The aim of NATO missile defense is to protect our European Allies against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles. The Iran framework agreement does not change that fact.”
Nevertheless, Russia claims NATO is escalating tensions by holding nuclear exercises in Eastern Europe, which NATO says is untrue.
“At no point have we moved nuclear weapons to Eastern Europe,” NATO said. Furthermore, NATO’s nuclear posture is fully consistent with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is Russia that has started to use its nuclear weapons as a tool in its strategy of intimidation.”
NATO added that, “Russia has increased nuclear rhetoric and stepped up its nuclear exercises. Russian nuclear-capable bombers are flying close to alliance borders. Russia has also threatened to base nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad and Crimea. This activity and this rhetoric do not contribute to transparency and predictability in the context of a dramatically changed security environment due to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.”
Read the full article at HSToday.