NATO holds first post-Cold War exercise in Barents Sea - Russian Defense Ministry
MOSCOW. June 1 (Interfax) - NATO has stepped up military activity in the Arctic and has begun practicing intercepting Russian ballistic missiles in this area, head of the Russian General Staff's Main Operative Directorate Sergei Rudskoi said at a press briefing on Monday.
"NATO is stepping up its activity in the Arctic. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, shortly before the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, a group of warships from the combined NATO naval force held exercises in the Barents Sea," Rudskoi said.
The group was comprised of three destroyers carrying guided missiles, a nuclear submarine, and a supply ship of the U.S. Navy, as well as a guided missile frigate of the British Navy, he said.
"The exercise trained destroying targets on Russian territory and intercepting Russian ballistic missiles. We view such actions as provocative, although the United States warned us within the minimal period of time about the arrival of these ships to the Barents Sea," Rudskoi said.
Proactive efforts by the Northern Fleet timely detected the deployment of the NATO ships and helped organize their escort and trace by weapons, he said.
"These efforts helped prevent incidents and demonstrated our determination to protect our interests in the Arctic," Rudskoi said.