Russia accused the United States on Wednesday of intimidation by sailing a U.S. naval destroyer close to Russia’s border in the Baltics and warned that the Russian military would respond with “all necessary measures” to any future incidents.
Speaking after a meeting between NATO envoys and Russia, their first in almost two years, Moscow’s ambassador to NATO said the April 11 maritime incident showed there could be no improvement in ties until the U.S.-led alliance withdrew from Russia’s borders.
“This is about attempts to exercise military pressure on Russia,” the envoy, Alexander Grushko, said. “We will take all necessary measures, precautions, to compensate for these attempts to use military force,” he told reporters.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute pressed Russia about the incident, warning it had been dangerous. The United States has said the guided missile destroyer USS Cook was on routine business near Poland when it was harassed by Russian jets.
“We were in international waters,” a NATO diplomat reported Lute as telling Grushko during the NATO-Russia council meeting.
Russia’s chief concern is NATO’s biggest modernization since the Cold War, which is likely to include a military build-up in eastern Europe with a rotating, multinational force in Poland and the Baltics.
Stoltenberg said NATO members had rejected Grushko’s description of the crisis in eastern Ukraine as a civil war.
“In the meeting, it was re-confirmed that we disagree on the facts, on the narrative and the responsibilities in and around Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said after the meeting.
“Many allies disagree when Russia tries to portray this as a civil war. This is Russia destabilizing eastern Ukraine, providing support for the separatists, munitions, funding, equipment and also command and control,” he said.
Russia denies any direct involvement in eastern Ukraine.
Recent Russian aggression include a Russian jet harassing a U.S. aircraft by barrel rolling over the top of the U.S. craft in what was claimed by Russia as a U.S. incursion into Russian airspace. In another recent incident, Russian aircraft flew within 50 feet of a U.S. warship multiple times and then claimed the U.S. vessel was in Russian waters. The problem is that Russia does not fear the U.S., and no action is likely against Russia from our current president. The Obama administration is famous for talking, but no substantive changes will occur, nor will the United States regain it’s lost respect, until we have a strong commander in chief selected to replace the boy who would be king that we currently have.