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Russians Deliver Bluntest Warning Yet About NATO Nuclear War Provocations

April 18, 2015 (EIRNS)—Speaking at the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security on April 16, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valeriy Gerasimov warned that countries that are playing host to components of the U.S./NATO missile defense system risk becoming targets. "Nonnuclear powers where missile-defense installations are being installed have become the objects of priority response," he said, referring specifically to Poland and Romania. Gerasimov told the conference that the deployment of missile defenses by NATO was "one more significant military threat to the Russian Federation and is a growing problem in maintaining the strategic stability in the world," and that this is seen by Russia "as an additional step by the United States and its allies to destroy the current system of international security in its striving for world domination."

Gerasimov called the NATO BMD systems being built in Poland and Romania "a breach on the part of the United States of one of the most important agreements ensuring strategic stability in Europe: the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty." This is a direct reference to the Mk41 vertical launch systems employed that are part of the Romanian and Polish installations. The MK41 system is the same as that installed on U.S. Navy missile defense ships, and the shipboard version can fire either the SM-3 interceptor missile or Tomahawk cruise missiles, though, as far as is known, neither the U.S. nor NATO has suggested that Tomahawks might be installed in the land-based BMD sites.

Gerasimov also noted the anti-Russian character of NATO’s exercises. "If in previous years the exercises were focused on crisis management and counterterrorism, today the priority has become solving issues in a military confrontation with a conventional enemy, which is easy to guess: the Russian Federation," he said.

NATO, not surprisngly, took offense to the remarks of Gerasimov, and those of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had preceded Gerasimov to the podium.

Shoigu had struck an identical theme, warning that the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons onto the territory of Eastern Europe was a serious provocation. He noted that the new pattern of NATO manuevers were located on NATO’s eastern flank and in the Arctic region, constituting a clear "anti-Russian stance."

Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, commander of the U.S. 3rd Air Force headquartered in Ramstein, Germany, told the Wall Street Journal that he was "unaware" of NATO practicing the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Beyond that, he claimed that the rotations of U.S. F-15s and A-10s into Eastern Europe was planned before the Ukraine crisis began. "I don’t expect the Russians to believe that, but it is true," he said.

The fact is that the targeting of Russia, by NATO factions and by the last two US Administrations, of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all preceded the beginning of the Ukraine "crisis," because the Ukraine crisis itself was a Western escalation of the ongoing targeting of Russia for destruction. The Maidan coup d’etat of February 2014 was the culmination of a program, led by the likes of Victoria Nuland, to bring about regime change in Kiev, leading to regime change in Moscow itself.

On April 17, as the Fourth Moscow International Security Conference was underway, 290 American soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, stationed in Vincenza, Italy, arrived in Lvov, Ukraine to begin training Ukrainian forces, in preparation for a future offensive against the population of eastern Ukraine. Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, denounced the deployment as a "first step to supplying state-of-art American weapons the Kiev party of war is craving." Lukashevich added that it was "evident that the American soldiers in Ukraine will not bring peace." Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the training mission will "destabilize the situation."

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu also issued a statement on April 16, following the Shoigu-Gerasimov remarks, reiterating NATO’s declaration that its BMD system is no threat to Russia. "The aim of NATO missile defence 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." Secondly, she denied that NATO’s nuclear weapons are being moved closer to Russia, as Shoigu had charged—though she might have admitted that nuclear capable aircraft are rotating into Poland and the Baltics. She also complained that Russia is stepping up its nuclear rhetoric; and declared that NATO is a defense alliance responding to Russian actions.

Top Russian officials have used the Moscow International Security Conferences to present a clear strategic assessment to an audience of international military and security specialists. In 2014, the conference focused on the new form of asymmetric warfare called "color revolutions," which targeted Ukraine, Russia and many nations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The significance of the focus this year on the NATO provocations and the growing danger of thermonuclear war cannot be ignored or underestimated.