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Putin declares NATO ‘threat’ to Russian security

This photo, taken on December 17, 2015, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking during his annual press conference in Moscow. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new defense strategy document that declares the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) a threat to Russia’s national security.

The document, which was signed by Putin this week, considers NATO’s military buildup in various countries as a major foreign threat against Russian national security.

The document also updates Russia’s national security posture and outlines the threats that Russia sees in NATO’s expansion.

“The buildup of the military potential of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and vesting it with global functions implemented in violations of norms of international law, boosting military activity of the bloc’s countries, further expansion of the alliance, the approach of its military infrastructure to Russian borders create a threat to the national security,” the document reads.

The signing of the document comes against the backdrop of a rising military presence by the US and its NATO allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

The Western military coalition has increased its troop and equipment presence in Poland and the Baltic nations in order to deter perceived Russian threats. Montenegro is the latest former Soviet bloc country to join the NATO.

In a separate statement, President Putin said Moscow’s independent policy making is what drives the US-led Western military alliance to feel the need for expansion in a bid to maintain its “domination.”

A US F-22 Raptor stealth fighter belonging to NATO lands at the Lask air base in central Poland, August 31, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

“Russia’s strengthening is taking part on the background of new threats to national security that have a complicated and interlinked character," the statement said.

"The independent domestic and foreign policy conducted by Russia triggers counteraction from the US and their allies seeking to keep up their domination in global affairs,” it added.

The Kremlin has announced a series of defense moves in recent months.

In mid-June last year, Putin announced that his country would boost its nuclear arsenal, adding 40 intercontinental missiles. He also said a vast array of state-of-the-art weaponry and equipment would be delivered to army units over the next few months.

Relations between Russia and NATO strained after Crimea integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, 2014. The military alliance ended all practical cooperation with Russia over the ensuing crisis in Ukraine on April 1, 2014.

The United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine and have imposed a number of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects the accusation.

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