Russia not provoking escalation of tensions in Ukraine, acts solely in defense - Foreign Ministry
MOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied allegations that Moscow is provoking the escalation of tensions in Ukraine and insisted that Russia's actions are solely defensive in nature.
The ministry on Tuesday published a text presenting counter-arguments for NATO's recent publication regarding myths about relations between Russia and the Alliance. The Russian Foreign Ministry formulated one of the myths as "Russia is provoking an escalation of the situation on the border with Ukraine."
"Russia's actions are exclusively defensive in nature. We have observed a significant increase in NATO's presence in the Black Sea region lately. Entries of warships with missile weapons on board and flights of American strategic aircraft have become more frequent, and large-scale exercises, including unplanned ones, have been conducted. We have recorded over 50 reconnaissance aircraft and drones flying along our borders virtually every week," it said.
"NATO is purposefully putting us to the test by sending military ships and planes to areas in the near vicinity of our borders, prompting Russia to respond. At the same time, our countermeasures are appropriate, commensurate, and restrained," it said.
"The alliance is accusing us of bolstering our military presence in Ukraine, meaning the Republic of Crimea. We should point out that this territory is part of the Russian Federation, and our armed forces are stationed there lawfully. Moreover, not only the Black Sea Fleet, but also marine, coastguard, and other ground units, as well as air forces have been historically stationed in Crimea," the ministry said.