BRUSSELS – Russia's ambassador to NATO has denounced the alliance's move to deploy additional forces near the Russian borders as a blow to European security.
Alexander Grushko's comments Thursday followed a meeting of NATO defense ministers, who agreed to deploy four multinational battalions on a rotational basis to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. They also discussed establishing a Romanian-led multinational "framework brigade" of ground troops to help defend the Black Sea area.
Grushko said that NATO's decision "directly infringes on our legitimate security interests" and "won't be left unanswered."
He also criticized NATO's pledge to offer non-lethal assistance to Ukraine, saying it could encourage its reluctance to abide by the Minsk peace agreement. The deal has helped reduce hostilities in eastern Ukraine, but fighting has continued and a political settlement has stalled.