Finnmark, Norge/Norway 20150311. Soldater fra 2. bataljon innsettes med Bell 412 helikoptre, tilhørende 339 Skvadron i Luftforsvaret, under øvelse Joint Viking 2015 i Finnmark. / Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, during winter exercise Joint Viking 2015 in Finnmark, Norway *** Local Caption *** Kan brukes fritt ved kreditering Foto: Ole-Sverre Haugli/Hæren/Forsvarets mediesenter / NTB scanpix
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NATO military activities near Russian borders have reached an unprecedented level since the Cold War era, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Speaking at a military meeting in Belarus, the minister said that the Alliance uses the myth about the “Russian threat” to increase its activities near the country’s border.

“NATO’s military activities near our borders have reached an unprecedented level since the Cold War era. The policy of the Alliance is to increase its advanced military presence,” Shoigu said.

Due to the Alliance’s growing activities close to its borders, Moscow has stated on multiple occasions that it poses no threat to anyone but will not neglect actions potentially dangerous to its interests.

On October 25th, in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea will begin the major NATO Trident Juncture 2018 maneuvers, one of the largest in the last decades.

The exercises will involve about 50,000 military personnel, about 150 aircraft, 65 ships and more than 10,000 vehicles. Some analysts believe that the main purpose of the maneuvers is to send a signal to Russia.

The exercises should be attended by 29 NATO countries as well as Finland and Sweden, which are not members of the Alliance.

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Former Republican Senator and Political Analyst Jim Jatras says that any and all NATO maneuvers are a signal to Moscow.

“Of course these exercises are meant to send a message to Russia,” Jatras said. “I would put this in the same category as the kinds of provocations we see in the Baltic and Black Sea to challenge the Russians to see if they will come out and meet ships and planes right on their territorial waters.”

“Now, these exercises are not close to Russia, but it is interesting that when Russia holds maneuvers of this magnitude on its own territory, Western media is full of all sorts of stuff about ‘look how provocative the Russians are being,’ but evidently they’re not supposed to feel provoked by these kinds of exercises that are clearly directed against them,” he added.

Jatras finds even more alarming the fact that Finland and Sweden have joined the training, as this “is aimed at the theater of the Arctic and Russia.”

What’s even more alarming is the matter of Sweden and Finland joining in on the exercises, according to Jatras.
“This is clearly directed toward the Arctic theater, toward Russia… This is really a full spectrum confrontation against Russia that also coincides with nonstop demonization in the Western media,” he said.

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