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Russian General Staff Officer Details How NATO Is Becoming More Aggressive

June 2, 2020 (EIRNS)—Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, delivered a briefing yesterday in which he charged that NATO military activity around Russia’s borders has been escalating despite the pandemic and Russian offers to work out with the alliance measures for reducing tensions. The transcript of his remarks is translated on the Defense Ministry website.

Rudskoy stated that the activity of the U.S. air and naval forces and their allies near the Russian borders has increased sharply. He listed six flights of B-1B bombers near Russia’s borders, one in April and five in May, including the most recent one of two bombers flying over the Black Sea after passing through Ukraine. “During these flights, U.S. planes were approaching the border of the Kaliningrad region at a distance of up to 10 km,” Rudskoy said, and pointing out that in all cases, the bombers were tracked by Russian monitoring systems and in seven cases, were intercepted by armed Russian fighter jets.

He also took note of the U.S.-U.K. naval exercise in the Barents Sea in early May, during which the tasks of hitting objects on the territory of the Russian Federation and intercepting Russian ballistic missiles were worked out. “We regard such actions as provocative, despite the fact that the U.S. side has notified these ships in the Barents sea in the shortest possible time,” he said.

Furthermore, Rudskoy pointed to the rise in reconnaissance flights near Russia’s borders and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Such flights off the coast of Syria increased from 7 in April to 17 in May. “We regard such flights as contrary to the signed agreements on preventing incidents in Syrian airspace.”

Rudskoy stressed the increased NATO military activity comes against the background of the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty as well as last year’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty. He also cited the ongoing work to build NATO’s ABM infrastructure in Poland and Romania. “All concerns regarding the possible deployment of Tomahawk cruise missiles at these bases remain.”

Rudskoy said that NATO has ignored all Russian offers to scale back operations by both sides, but that Russia is moving its large-scale exercises away from border regions in western Russia anyway.

A few hours later, the U.S. Air Force issued a press release yesterday reporting that the two B-1s that flew over the Black Sea last week were practicing how to carry out anti-ship strikes. The Russian Black Sea Fleet was clearly the target of that training exercise.

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