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NATO military build-up in Eastern Europe is dangerous step -- Russian Foreign Ministry

The build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe is an unprecedentedly dangerous step, violating Russia's agreements with the alliance, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday, commenting on Romania's readiness to allow the deployment of NATO equipment in its territory.

"The build-up of the NATO force grouping in the eastern flank, or as they say now, in the "frontline states," is an unprecedentedly dangerous step, which violates absolutely every agreement one could think of, and the main thing is that it violates the Russia-NATO Founding Act that is still in effect," Lukashevich said.

According to him, the document says that "the sides assumed the obligations not to excessively build up their armaments and combat equipment, so-called "substantial combat forces," although Russia insisted on clarification of that wording. "NATO and Russia will, together with other States Parties, seek to strengthen stability by further developing measures to prevent any potentially threatening build-up of conventional forces in agreed regions of Europe, to include Central and Eastern Europe," the Act says.

"Due to the lack of clarity about this, if the Romanian government considers it possible to increase the presence of the NATO grouping in its territory, including by the creation of such a powerful "armed fist," it should be aware of the responsibility for this and consequences of this step for the region's security," Lukashevich said.

"We have repeatedly emphasised that the mutual restraint principle should be used here," the diplomat said. "If this corresponds to reality, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the Russian Federation reserves the right to bear in mind this essential factor in its military planning," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 02Apr15]

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