Statement by NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu on misleading and incorrect Russian statements

  • 16 Apr. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 16 Apr. 2015 18:38

A number of misleading and incorrect statements about NATO were made by senior Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday 16 April.

NATO flag flying at NATO Headquarters Brussels.
Here are the facts:

NATO’s missile defence system is not designed or directed against Russia. It does not pose a threat to Russia’s strategic deterrent. Geography and physics make it impossible for the NATO system to shoot down Russian intercontinental missiles from NATO sites in Romania or Poland.  Their capabilities are too limited, their planned numbers too few, and their locations too far south or too close to Russia to do so.

The aim of NATO missile defence is to protect our European Allies against the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles. The Iran framework agreement does not change that fact.

Russia also claims that NATO is escalating tensions by holding nuclear exercises in Eastern Europe.  This is untrue.  At no point have we moved nuclear weapons to Eastern Europe.  Furthermore, NATO’s nuclear posture is fully consistent with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is Russia that has started to use its nuclear weapons as a tool in its strategy of intimidation.

Russia has increased nuclear rhetoric and stepped up its nuclear exercises.  Russian nuclear-capable bombers are flying close to Alliance borders.  Russia has also threatened to base nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad and Crimea. This activity and this rhetoric do not contribute to transparency and predictability in the context of a dramatically changed security environment due to Russia's aggressive actions in Ukraine.

NATO is a defensive alliance, so in response to Russia's actions, we have increased our military presence in the eastern part of our Alliance. This presence is rotational, defensive, proportional and in line with our international commitments. NATO will defend all Allies against any threat.