NATO has not breached a deal with Russia by beefing up its forces in eastern Europe, the alliance’s chief has said.
After talks with Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen accused Moscow of ‘‘violating every principle and international commitment it has made’‘.
“Russia pledged to respect territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of other states, and refrain from the threat or use of force and that’s exactly what Russia is not doing,’‘ Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen also described Russian accusations about NATO’s actions as ‘‘propaganda and disinformation’‘.
The NATO chief’s comments followed an earlier demand by the Kremlin to explain the alliance’s military build up in the Baltic.
“Of course our stand is that Russian-NATO relations are also regulated by certain rules according to which, there must be no additional constant military presence on Eastern European territory,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
But NATO has vowed to continue collective defence of its eastern partners following Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Elsewhere, in a sign the diplomatic crisis between Moscow and the West is the worst since the Cold War ended two decades ago, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency ‘‘US policymakers need to calm down, maybe do some yoga and accept that Crimea is now part of Russia’‘.
The war of words comes as US and Ukrainian troops take part in long planned military drills in Bulgaria.
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