Sunday, May 19, 2024

Russia claims NATO using war games to ‘prepare for conflict’

NATO’s largest exercise since the Cold War are being held near Russia's border, indicating that the US-led bloc is “seriously preparing” for a potential conflict with Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has stated.

The Steadfast Defender drills, featuring some 90,000 troops from all 32 NATO member states and 1,100 combat vehicles, started in late January and will end in May.

According to the wargame scenario, “the coalition’s actions against Russia are being practiced using all the instruments, including hybrid and conventional weapons”, Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday.

”We have to admit that NATO is seriously preparing for a ‘potential conflict’ with us,” Zakharova added.

The diplomat was commenting on accusations made by NATO earlier this week that Russia was allegedly carrying out “hybrid activities” on the member countries’ soil, which they insist constitute a threat to their security. These actions include “sabotage, acts of violence, cyber and electronic interference, disinformation campaigns, and other hybrid operations”, the bloc claimed in a statement on Thursday.

Zakharova dismissed the allegations as “disinformation” and an attempt to shift public attention from NATO’s own activities.

The bloc and the leadership of individual member states are “increasing the degree of anti-Russian hysteria in order to justify the unprecedented scale of militarization in Europe”, the official stated.

According to the diplomat, it was NATO that launched “a hybrid war against Russia in all operational environments and in all geographic directions”. In addition, the bloc members are actively involved in the Ukraine conflict. They are providing Kiev not only with financial support, but also with weapons and intelligence data – which are then used “to strike civilians and civilian infrastructure in Russia”, Zakharova continued.

Back in March, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said that NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2024 exercises were “increasing tensions and destabilizing the situation in the world” by simulating a military confrontation with Moscow. The official described the bloc as an “important tool” employed by the US to exert pressure and influence on other nations. NATO has come directly to Russia’s western border and is preparing for future conflicts, he stressed.

In recent months, multiple senior officials from NATO member states claimed that Moscow was planning to launch an attack against the military bloc in the coming years.

Russia has repeatedly denied those claims, with President Vladimir Putin saying the country “has no interest … geopolitically, economically or militarily … in waging war against NATO”.

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