Kremlin says NATO talk of Russian threat absurd, short-sighted
MOSCOW – ReutersThe Kremlin said on July 8 that it regarded NATO’s suggestion that Russia posed a threat as absurd, saying it hoped that common sense would prevail at the military alliance’s summit in Warsaw on July 8-9.
The Kremlin spoke out after U.S. President Barack Obama urged NATO leaders to stand firm against a resurgent Russia over its 2014 seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea.
In an article in the Financial Times newspaper as he arrived for his last summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation before he leaves office in January 2017, Obama said “in Warsaw, we must reaffirm our determination - our duty under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty - to defend every NATO ally.”
The summit is expected to formally agree to deploy four battalions in the Baltic states and eastern Poland, a move the alliance says is meant to deter possible Russian aggression.
“It is absurd to talk about any threat coming from Russia at a time when dozens of people are dying in the center of Europe and when hundreds of people are dying in the Middle East daily,” Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters.
“You have to be an absolutely short-sighted organization to twist things in that way,” said Peskov, saying Russia hoped common sense and an understanding of the need to avoid confrontation would prevail.
Russia was open for talks and cooperation with NATO, Peskov added, and did not want to cast the alliance as an enemy. But he complained of NATO soldiers and planes operating close to Russia’s borders.
“We aren’t the ones getting closer to NATO’s borders,” he said.