NATO chief troubled by Russia's rhetoric, bomber flights

"Russia's provocative rhetoric and its dramatic expansion of flights by nuclear bombers are deeply troubling and dangerous," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

Source: AFP, Tanjug
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He spoke in Washington on Wednesday, a day after he was received by U.S. President Barack Obama, AFP reported.

"Russia's plans to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad near Poland's border and its threat to move nuclear forces in Crimea would 'fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe,' Stoltenberg warned," the news agency said.

According to the report, Stoltenberg used "blunt language to deliver a scathing critique" of Russia's behavior over the past year, "including Moscow's armed intervention in Ukraine," and also "vowed the transatlantic alliance would redouble its commitment to collective defense."

He also said that Russia's bombers flew "from Japan to Gibraltar, from Crete to California, and from the Baltic sea to the Black Sea."

Stoltenberg was further quoted as saying that Russia is "failing to draw on the lessons of the Cold War, including that when it comes to nuclear weapons, caution, predictability and transparency are vital," adding its "nuclear saber-rattling" was "unjustified, destabilizing and dangerous."

Stoltenberg further criticized Russia for staging large snap military exercises, "a violation of international agreements requiring governments to share information about planned drills in advance and to invite observers," and said that "Russia is conducting yet another snap exercise near Ukraine this week that involves 250 aircraft and 700 pieces of heavy equipment."

"Citing Russia's actions in Ukraine and elsewhere, Stoltenberg said Moscow 'is asserting its military power, stirring up aggressive nationalism, claiming the right to impose its will on its neighbors and grabbing land'," the news agency said.

At the same time, the NATO Military Committee Petr Pavel was quoted as saying that "Russia would be able to occupy the Baltic countries in two days, a period during which NATO would not be capable of reacting adequately."

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