NATO has been building a strong military presence in Eastern European countries along the Russian borders since 2014 in response to Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Moscow claims that NATO’s increased military activity in Europe and around the world threatens peace and stability. Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said Monday that the Western military alliance’s “unfriendly attitude towards Russia” was a serious cause for concern, reports Sputnik News.
US to deploy missile defense shield in Romania, Poland
Gerasimov also expressed concerns over the US-led initiative to build a missile defense shield in Europe, as well as America’s development of hypersonic weapons. Russia is developing its own hypersonic weapons that will be ready by the end of this decade. The Kremlin has repeatedly warned against the US plan to install missile defense shield in Romania and Poland.
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Earlier this year, Gerasimov threatened that if the US installs missile defense systems there, Poland and Romania will become “the objects of priority response.” Moscow and Washington have been in a dispute over the US missile defense plans in Europe for years. The US argues that the systems are aimed at protecting its allies from potential threats posed by Iran and North Korea.
US missile shield a threat to Russia’s national security
But Russia says such assertions were lies. The Kremlin view the deployment of US missile defense systems in Europe as a serious threat to its national security. In 2011, the then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev deployed Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region and started construction of new air-defense radar systems to counter the US missile defense systems in Europe.
Last week, the US successfully tested a ground-based SM-3 missile to intercept a ballistic missile of an intended enemy, as part of its missile shield plan in Europe. On Nov.1, the US had also successfully test-fired its THAAD and Aegis multi-layered air defense systems. Washington also plans to deploy THAAD in South Korea.