News ID: 103537
Publish Date : 11 June 2022 - 21:32

MOSCOW (Reuters/AFP) – Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday that Moscow’s response to a build-up of NATO forces in Poland will be proportionate, Interfax news agency reported citing a Russian diplomat.
“A response, as always, will be proportionate and appropriate, intended to neutralize potential threats to the security of the Russian Federation,” Interfax quoted Oleg Tyapkin, the head of a foreign ministry department in charge of Russian relations with Europe.
Tyapkin made the remarks a day after a meeting in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, where nine Central and Eastern European countries asked NATO to boost its eastern flank. Leaders of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia attended the event.
“In view of the increased security risks in Romania and the Black Sea, consolidating NATO on its eastern flank, in a unified and balanced manner, becomes all the more urgent and crucial,” said Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the opening of the meeting.
Russia has long expressed grievances to the United States about NATO’s eastward expansion, and says Washington has repeatedly ignored the Kremlin’s concerns about the security of its western borders.
Last month, NATO’s Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana said the alliance is no longer bound by past commitments to hold back from deploying forces in Eastern Europe.
NATO has sharply increased its presence at its eastern border, with some 40,000 troops spread from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The alliance is also seeking to deploy four new combat units in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has on several occasions cited the post-Soviet expansion of NATO eastwards as a reason for Russia’s current military operation in Ukraine. Key to its list of security demands from the West prior to the operation in Ukraine was a guarantee that Kiev would never be part of NATO.
Putin eventually declared a military campaign in eastern Ukraine on February 24 to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country.
In the latest development on the war in the country, Ukraine’s bid to become a candidate to join the EU will get a clear signal next week, the bloc’s chief Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday on a surprise visit to Kyiv.
Von der Leyen said the talks she held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “will enable us to finalize our assessment by the end of next week”.
It was the first time the EU has publicly given timing on when the commission will deliver its opinion. The bloc’s 27 member countries need to decide whether to allow Ukraine to start accession negotiations.
Von der Leyen, appearing alongside Zelensky for a brief declaration to media, did not hold out any promises.
“You have done a lot in strengthening the rule of law, but there still need to be reforms implemented, to fight corruption for example or to modernize this well-functioning administration, to help attract investors,” she noted.

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