Russia checks combat readiness as NATO holds drills in Poland
PR dla Zagranicy
President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap inspection of the combat readiness of the Russian armed forces on Tuesday.
Photo: EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV / POOL
The surprise move will see inspections, which also cover military arsenals and tactical exercises, running until 22 June, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced.
The move by Russia comes as NATO hold the largest military drills in Poland since the Cold War. The manoeuvres involve some 31,000 troops from Alliance members and partner countries.
Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said that ongoing tension between the West and Moscow has prompted NATO to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards Russia to avoid escalation: “deterrence, defence but also dialogue.”
“We have to be able to manage our relationship, avoid incidents, accidents from happening and creating dangerous situations, but also to continue to strive for more constructive and cooperative relations with Russia,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Polish news agency PAP.
The NATO chief added that reestablishing good relations with Russia would, however, “depend on [Moscow’s] behavior.”
In mid-April, Russian Su-24 bombers flew over guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Baltic Sea. In a separate incident, Turkey shot down a Russian bomber on the Turkish-Syrian border in November 2015.
“Russia is our biggest neighbor (…) and we have to find ways to live with Russia as a neighbour,” Stoltenberg said.
In May, NATO foreign ministers agreed that a NATO-Russia Council should convene ahead of the July summit of the North Atlantic Alliance in Warsaw. The last such forum was held on 20 April in Brussels, following a nearly two-year hiatus caused by Russia’s annexation of Crimea. (aba/pk)