MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. Systematic NATO provocations near Russia’s borders carry major risks of escalating into armed conflict, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin has said.
“Lately, the alliance has opted for direct provocations, with a great risk of turning into an armed confrontation,” Fomin told a press conference for foreign military attachés and representatives of accredited foreign embassies. in Moscow.
As an example, he mentioned the June 23, 2021 attempt by the British destroyer Defender to encroach on Russian territorial waters near Cape Fiolent in Crimea.
“It is significant that the US RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft provided support to the British Navy vessel,” Fomin said.
The intensity of reconnaissance flights in the Black Sea region has increased by 60% compared to 2020. The number of sorties has increased from 436 to 710.
Fomin said the presence of combat and supply ships from extra-regional NATO countries has become permanent.
“From January to December this year, NATO ships made 30 visits to the region, compared to 23 in 2020. The total duration of their presence reached 400 days, compared to 359 in 2020,” Fomin said.
He pointed out that after the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty, NATO had in fact ignored Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initiative for a moratorium on the deployment of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe and for mutual verification measures that could eliminate existing concerns.
“The deployment of such missiles in Europe is unlikely to give NATO any greater security,” Fomine said.