NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russia’s move to deploy nuclear arsenal in its enclave Kaliningrad near the Polish border and recently-annexed Crimea would endanger European security and fundamentally change the balance of power in favour of Moscow.
The NATO chief paid attention to Russia’s increasing military presence towards Europe and stated that Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric considering the European security was problematic in terms of peace and stability.
"Russia's recent use of nuclear rhetoric, exercises and operations are deeply troubling," Stoltenberg told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank in Washington.
"Russia has also significantly increased the scale, number and range of proactive flights by nuclear capable bombers across much of the globe," Stoltenberg said.
The ex-prime minister of Norway and one year NATO chief said Russia has not taken its lessons from the Cold War era "when it comes to nuclear weapons, caution, predictability and transparency are vital."
Since Moscow annexed Crimea and gave its military and political support to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics inside Ukraine, the relations between Russia and the NATO allies had undergone to the level of Cold War era.
For the current level of the relations, the Kremlin blames the United States administration and NATO for the eastward enlargement further into the post-Soviet space, while the Euro-Atlantic alliance raised concerns over Moscow’s recent military presence towards Eastern Europe.
Eastern European countries have been worrying over Russia’s increasing influence in the wake of annexation of Crimea and the separatist war in eastern Ukraine.
Russia is allegedly increasing its military activities in the Baltic and Nordic regions where its planes and submarines have been intercepted since the last year.
Russian incursions mostly into the Baltic airspace sparked the reaction of Eastern European countries whereas Sweden and Finland have been complaining from Russian assaults through submarines in their territorial waters.
The EU suggested those countries to take part in the neighbourhood policy by signing of the association agreement that empowers cooperation and coordination between Europe and non-EU members.
NATO membership also came to fore as a number one agenda of their foreign security and the Euro-Atlantic alliance admitted the membership of most of the post-Soviet countries except Ukraine and Georgia whose memberships have been essentially objected by Moscow.
Meanwhile, Armenia and Belarus have chosen to side with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), known as Russia’s new Warsaw Pact.
As the relations soured with the West, Russia boosted its military and economic ties with China which has also been accused of its offensive territorial claims in the South China Sea by the regional and Western allies.
Last week, Russia inaugurated a naval military drill with China in the Mediterranean for the first time in history in the western side of the world.
Russia-China joint military drill just came after NATO’s Operation Atlantic Resolve military drill across the European seas, with that the Euro-Atlantic alliance sends a political message to Russia over its alleged aggression and draws attention to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
In retaliation, North European countries together with the US started on Monday an air training exercise with almost 100 jets in the Arctic region near Russia.
The exercise based on Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Finland with 4,000 personnel aimed to test security cooperation among the Arctic nations which perceive Moscow as number one military threat.