2 Dec 2017 20:17

U.S.'s, NATO's concerns about Zapad-2017 drills were just excuse to deploy troops to Poland, Baltic states - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Dec 2 (Interfax) - The United States and NATO have deployed additional military contingents and hardware on the sly to the Baltic states and Poland, using concerns caused by the Russian-Belarusian Zapad-2017 exercise as an excuse, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Everyone who wished attended this exercise and confirmed that everything was transparent. But, while hysteria was whipped up, our U.S. colleagues, together with NATO, were able to deploy additional military contingents and military hardware on the sly to the Baltic states and Poland," Lavrov said in an interview with the Belarusian STV television channel.

"An excuse was used, fears were not realized, but, as a saying goes, the case is closed," the minister said.

The West "tried to use our holding of the exercise as an excuse to whip up hysteria once again," he said.

Lavrov recalled that Belarus and Russia informed the countries participating in the Vienna document "on confidence and security building measures adopted through the OSCE" in advance.

"Notifications were sent, all observers were invited, as it should be, and invitations went further than it was necessary," the minister said.