Thu, 09 Jul 2020

File photo taken on Feb. 12, 2020 shows the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (Xinhua/Zhang Cheng)

Naval drills held by NATO in early May on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War were provocative because they involved striking targets on Russian territory, Rudskoi said.

MOSCOW, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Despite the spread of COVID-19, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has significantly increased military activity with a "clear anti-Russian orientation," Russia's top general said Monday.

"By similar actions, the United States and its allies, hiding behind an invented threat of 'Russian aggression,' continue to destroy the existing security system in Europe," Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told a briefing.

Naval drills held by NATO in early May on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War were provocative because they involved striking targets on Russian territory, he said.

According to Rudskoi, the Russian Northern Fleet has discovered the deployment of the NATO ships and began tracking them, which "prevented incidents and demonstrated our determination to protect our interests in the Arctic."

The Russian Defense Ministry constantly monitors and records the high level of military activity of the United States and its NATO allies near Russian borders, Rudskoi said.

Although the NATO Defender-Europe 20 drills were scaled down this year because of the pandemic, almost all combat training tasks during the drills were carried out at training grounds located in close proximity to Russia.

Currently, activity by the U.S. air forces and Washington's NATO allies has also increased near the Russian border, along with aerial reconnaissance near the Baltic and the Black seas.

On top of this, Russia is concerned about the continued build-up of missile defense infrastructure in Poland, in addition to an already deployed facility in Romania, where Tomahawk cruise missiles could be placed, Rudskoi said. ■

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