Russia accuses NATO of destabilizing northern Europe

  • 2014-12-01
  • From wire reports, RIGA

(photo: creative commons)

Russia has accused NATO of destabilizing northern Europe by holding military exercises there and "transferring aircraft capable of carrying nuclear arms" to the Baltic states, Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov as saying.

"This reality is extremely negative," Meshkov told the agency in an interview published on Monday, Reuters reports.

"The Russian authorities are and will be taking every step to firmly safeguard the security of Russia and its citizens ... no matter which part of our country it concerns."

Latvia's defense ministry said Russian jets has been detected near its borders more than 250 times this year. The number has considerably rise amid the Ukraine crisis, the defense ministry says.

NATO says the Russian jets pose a danger to civilian aircraft as they usually operate with their automatic receivers turned off and without a flight plan.

NATO says it scrambled patrol jets more than 30 times above the Baltic region in order to intercept Russian military flights.

However, the build up of NATO troops in the region has made Russia nervous, Vladimir Putin's chief spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the BBC last month.

"We'll continue to make it much more tense as far as our national interests are. The longer our national interests are in danger the longer we'll reply. This does not mean we want a cold war. We want our counterparts to understand we have red lines and we can't pass red lines and we expect our partners to understand where our red lines are."