Troops from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team parachute from a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during a NATO-led exercise “Orzel Alert” held together with Canada’s 3rd Battalion and Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry, and Poland’s 6th Airborne Brigade in Bledowska Desert in Chechlo, near Olkusz, south Poland May 5, 2014 (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)
Moscow has accused NATO of using the Ukrainian crisis as a “pretext” to “push its military presence closer to Russia’s borders,” and says that plans for a new rapid response force will sabotage the peace process in eastern Ukraine.
“The [expansion] plans have been harbored by NATO for a long time, and recent events have served as a pretext to put them into action,” said a statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website, following the wrapping up of the NATO summit in Wales.
“Together with the rhetoric at the summit, and the planned military exercises before the end of the year, this will increase tension, destabilization the nascent peace process, and further widen the division in Ukraine,” the ministry’s statement said.
“The above is also testament to NATO’s unconditional support for the extremists and neo-fascists in Kiev, including the Right Sector political movement,” it stressed.
During the two-day summit, the 28 NATO member states instituted the creation of a rapid response unit numbering at least 4,000. It could be deployed in Eastern Europe – where it will be based – in less than 48 hours.
The primary stated reason for the initiative is“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”
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