[June 09, 2014]MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia would
consider any further expansion of NATO forces near its borders a
"demonstration of hostile intentions" and would take political and
military measures to ensure its own security, a senior diplomat was
quoted on Monday as saying.
The comments come amid a deep crisis between Russia and the West
over Ukraine and days after U.S. President Barack Obama offered
increased military support for eastern European NATO members to ease
their concerns over Moscow.
"We cannot see such a build-up of the alliance's military power near
the border with Russia as anything else but a demonstration of
hostile intentions," Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told
Interfax in an interview.
Speaking last week in NATO-member Poland, Obama unveiled plans to
spend up to $1 billion on supporting and training the armed forces
of alliance states bordering Russia.
The White House also said it would review permanent troop
deployments in Europe in the light of the Ukraine crisis, but fell
short of a firm commitment to put troops on the ground, as sought by
Poland as a security guarantee.
"It would be hard to see additional deployment of substantial NATO
military forces in central-eastern Europe, even if on a rotational
basis, as anything else but a direct violation of provisions of the
1997 Founding Act on relations between Russia and NATO," Titov said.
"We will be forced to undertake all necessary political and military
measures to reliably safeguard our security."
Russia has long opposed NATO's eastward expansion as threatening its
own security and says Kiev's plan to associate itself more closely
with the West - including with the military alliance and the
European Union - has forced it to react.
The West accuses Russia of meddling in Ukraine to keep the former
Soviet country in its sphere of influences.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Mark