- The Washington Times
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Moscow’s highest-ranking officials are demanding that NATO explain its recently announced plans to bolster military presence in Eastern Europe.

“We not only expect answers, but answers … based fully on respect for the rules we agreed on,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, BBC reported.

He was speaking of NATO’s announcement to reinforce its defense force in Eastern Europe — a bold response to Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. NATO at the same time has also put a stop to military and civilian cooperation with Russia, BBC reported.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has described Russia’s aggression into Ukraine as the biggest security threat that Europe has faced in decades. And NATO’s highest commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, has warned that the aggression could quickly worsen, as Russia’s placed enough troops in strategic border spots to send in the military within 12 hours of receiving an order.

Mr. Lavrov, however, said NATO is taking steps that aren’t necessary and that the troop movements on the border with Ukraine are hardly cause for concern. He said Russia has the right to move its military around its own nation and they’re only taking part in standard military exercises, BBC reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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