Russia: NATO Build-Up In Baltic 'Unjustified'

Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 2:36 AM

Moscow's ambassador suggests relations between Russia and the alliance were "very horrible" in the wake of the annexation of Crimea.

Russia: NATO Build-Up In Baltic 'Unjustified'

Russia says NATO's military build-up in the Baltic states is "absolutely unjustified", while Poland claims President Vladimir Putin's nation is a bigger threat than Islamic State.

Moscow'south ambassador to Brussels suggested relations between Russia and the alliance were "very bad" in the wake of Russia'south annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

NATO suspended practical co-operation with Moscow after the military move in March 2014.

And following week will look the first formal talks between alliance and Russia ambassadors in nearly two years, in what's being seen as a thaw in ties.

Moscow is accused of backing pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine against the pro-Western government in Kiev.

Eastern members of the alliance including former Soviet-ruled Baltic states and Poland lobbied the organisation to expand its presence in the region.

In response to Russia'south intervention in Ukraine, NATO's twenty-eight members agreed to send troops, plus additional ships and planes to reassure them they do stand alone.

Russia has stepped up air patrols, leading to a large rise in NATO interceptions as both sides test out the other.

Russian ambassador Alexander Grushko said: "NATO has been deploying extra forces, increasing its military action on a rotational basis, adding equipment, creating permanent storage sites for military weaponry and equipment."

He accused NATO of using the Ukraine crisis as a pretext for the "absolutely unjustified" build-up and plans to protest at the scarce talks in Brussels on twentieth April.

Meanwhile, Poland'south foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski has claimed Russia posed an "existential threat" and is more risky than the Islamic State jihadist group.

He said: "By all evidence, Russia'south action is a sort of existential threat because this action can destroy countries."

He described IS as a very serious threat but added that "it's not an existential threat for Europe".

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