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NATO making Europe less stable – Moscow

The US and its allies are deliberately undermining global security, General Valery Gerasimov has warned

Western actions directed against Russia are making Europe less safe, according to the head of Russia’s General Staff. Valery Gerasimov issued the warning on Thursday during a meeting with foreign military attaches in Moscow.

The top general was briefing officials from embassies hosted by Russia on the actions taken by his country in 2023, and how it perceives the current security situation. The US remains committed to its attempts to “save the Western-centric world order” and is actively undermining instruments of international stability, he claimed.

“Washington’s intentional actions have destroyed all basic agreements that served as the basis for arms control,” Gerasimov said. “Considering the Western course to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, the implementation of trust-building measures in the sphere of European security is no longer relevant.”

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Successive US presidential administrations have scrapped bilateral arms control agreements with Russia, starting with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, from which President George W. Bush withdrew in 2002.

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Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces - First Deputy Defence Minister Valery Gerasimov attends an expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board at the National Defence Control Centre in Moscow, Russia.
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The only surviving major Cold War agreement of this kind is New START, which is set to expire in February 2026. Officials in both nations are skeptical about its extension or replacement, considering the level of hostility between Moscow and Washington.

Gerasimov accused the West of turning Europe into an “arena for confrontation” with Russia in political and economic areas. NATO’s expansion into Finland and likely Sweden, as well as the bloc’s military buildup close to Russia, “have a negative impact on the situation in Europe, with a potential to escalate the confrontation,” he warned.

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The two Nordic nations applied for NATO membership following the Ukraine conflict, claiming that they wanted to boost their safety. Moscow has called the organization’s enlargement, including the 2008 pledge to admit Ukraine as a member one day, as one of the key causes of the ongoing crisis. Russia perceives NATO as hostile and a tool of American geopolitical ambitions.


READ MORE: Ukraine conflict could ruin EU – Borrell

Moscow is responding to the growing threat by reorganizing and strengthening its armed forces, Gerasimov said. Two new military districts were created for territories surrounding Moscow and St. Petersburg, the two largest cities in Russia. The Defense Ministry has also changed the target strength of the standing army to 1.32 million troops, he told the audience.

President Vladimir Putin ordered the change earlier this month. The previous strength target was around 1.15 million troops. Russia had been reducing its standing army since the 1990s, up until 2017.

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December 21, 2023 at 06:23PM
RT

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