‘Russia’s response to NATO bases will not only be political,’ says Russian PM

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MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Moscow would respond politically and “militarily” to NATO’s initiative to deploy military bases near Russian borders.

According to him, the establishment of Northern Alliance bases near Russian borders threatens the national security of the country.

“No one denies that Russia has any interests of its own in ensuring its security. We are a big country, we are a nuclear state, and the desire to place NATO bases in our immediate neighborhood obviously cannot fill us with positive feelings,” Medvedev said in a statement in interview with the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.

“We have always responded and will continue to respond to this, both politically and militarily,” the prime minister added on the eve of his visit to Belgrade.

The Russian Prime Minister will visit Belgrade on 19 October at the invitation of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and will attend the 75th anniversary celebration ceremony of Belgrade’s release from Nazi occupation.

Russia has always backed Serbia on the Kosovo issue. The Kosovo War between the Albanian Kosovo “Liberation” Army (KLA) terrorist organization and Yugoslav forces, consisting of Serbia and Montenegro in 1998-1999, ended after UN-backed international intervention following NATO bombing of Yugoslavia troops.

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In 2008, Kosovo Albanian groups in Pristina unilaterally proclaimed Serbia’s independence, and more than 100 UN member states officially recognized Kosovo. However, Serbia, alongside Russia, China, Israel and several other countries does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Last month Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic ordered to put the army in a state of maximum combat readiness in response to the actions of the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo special forces, Tanjug reported, citing the administration of the president.

“The order was handed to the Serbian Army chief of staff,” reports the agency.

According to the agency, about 60 Kosovo Special Forces military personnel took positions near the artificial lake of the Serbian Gazivoda hydroelectric power station on the Kosovo-controlled border with Serbia. Kosovo forces have also entered the Lake Area Center for Ecology and Sport Development.

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