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NATO, not Russia, threatens Baltics: Moscow

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, during a meeting of NATO ambassadors.

Moscow has rejected the British defense secretary's allegation that Russia poses a threat to the Baltic countries, saying the real risk comes from NATO's increased activity.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, said Thursday that British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon's remarks are beyond "diplomatic ethics."

"The comments of Mr. Fallon of course are already beyond diplomatic ethics and the characterization of Russia is completely intolerable," Lukashevich added.

The Russian diplomat, who was speaking to journalists in a weekly briefing, said Moscow would certainly find a way “to respond to the comments”.

In an interview with Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers, Fallon (pictured above) had claimed that Russia's President Vladimir Putin posed what he called a real danger to Baltic states, namely Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

This comes as British jets were scrambled Wednesday after two Russian military aircraft were seen flying close to the UK airspace.

A similar incident occurred in January, when the UK Foreign Office said two Russian bombers flying near the UK airspace had caused disruption to civil aviation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron later said he didn't deem it necessary to “dignify” the Russians with a response for their provocation.

Meanwhile, Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (pictured above) announced Thursday that his country is to host additional NATO forces on its soil. He said the country is ready to make an special investment program worth €40 million for hosting the additional forces.

NATO and Russia are already at loggerheads over the crisis in east Ukraine which has claimed the lives of more than 5,700 people. Hopes were revived after leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France agreed on a truce deal last Thursday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. However, clashes have continued with the two sides claiming that they are committed to implementing the ceasefire.

Western governments accuse Russia of having a major hand in the armed confrontation in east Ukraine. Moscow denies that, saying that the Western-backed government in Kiev should stop suppressing the rights of the ethnic Russian population in that part of the country.


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