Washington (AFP) – Russia’s provocative rhetoric and its dramatic expansion of flights by nuclear bombers are deeply troubling and dangerous, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
Russia’s plans to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad — near Poland’s border — and its threat to move nuclear forces in Crimea would “fundamentally change the balance of security in Europe,” Stoltenberg warned, in speech during a visit to Washington.
In blunt language, the NATO chief delivered a scathing critique of Russia’s behavior over the past year — including Moscow’s armed intervention in Ukraine — and vowed the transatlantic alliance would redouble its commitment to “collective defense.”
“Russia’s recent use of nuclear rhetoric, exercises and operations are deeply troubling,” he told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “admission that he considered putting Russia’s nuclear forces on alert while Russia was annexing Crimea is but one example,” the former Norwegian prime minister said.