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Putin blasts NATO’s ‘never-ending’ military build-ups near Russia

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)
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses participants of the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) via video link, at Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on June 23, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed exasperation at NATO for its “never-ending” military build-ups near his country’s borders, as the military alliance deploys forces to the Black Sea to conduct war games in the strategic waters.

Speaking in a video message to the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) on Wednesday, Putin said Moscow “cannot but be concerned about the never-ending buildup of NATO’s military capabilities and infrastructure near Russian borders.”

The president said the Russian government “expects that common sense and a desire to develop constructive relations with us will eventually prevail.”

Putin said the Kremlin was making efforts to reduce risks, ensure predictability, and iron out differences through dialog and particular agreements, including in the field of arms control.

“Earlier, Russia put forward a proposal on developing a new ‘security equation,’” Putin said. “It should take into account all factors affecting strategic stability in their interrelationship.”

He said “political will and readiness for compromises can yield a positive result.”

In a separate statement, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that a NATO summit in Brussels earlier this month confirmed that the alliance was being transformed into a global military and political alliance aimed at containing Russia and China.

“The decisions taken at the summit to increase the military spending of the member states and to boost the potential of nuclear deterrence will consolidate the military confrontation in Europe for years,” Shoigu said on Wednesday.

The remarks came as US and its NATO allies are conducting military exercise in the Black Sea.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, about 4,000 NATO military personnel, as well as 40 navy ships, boats, and auxiliary vessels, 30 aerial units, and over 100 vehicles and armored units, will be deployed in the Black Sea.

The main participants of the exercise would be Ukraine, the United States, Canada, Britain, and Turkey. Special Forces from various NATO countries will also be deployed in Ukraine as part of the drill.

Russia accuses the United States and NATO of “provocative activities” in the waters and the airspace of the Black Sea.

The Defense Ministry said that Russian forces had launched naval exercises in the Crimean Peninsula after US and NATO warships entered the Black Sea.

The US has for long been deploying forces and equipment in Eastern Europe and near Russia’s western borders, a provocative move repeatedly denounced by Moscow.

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