8 Nov, 2017
FILE PHOTO © U.S. Army
“This is a bad signal,” Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, formerly a high-ranking Defense Ministry official, told RT on Wednesday. “NATO has no near-peer opponent in terms of the overall amount of divisions and military equipment, as well as command structures.” Ivashov, now president of the Moscow-based Academy for Geopolitical Problems think-tank, added that new developments in Europe may indicate the military bloc is preparing to target Russia.
The general cited the accumulation of US-run military structures and the deployment of four NATO-led, battalion-sized tactical groups in Eastern Europe which, in turn, “may be expanded into brigades and then divisions.”
“It indicates that they, the Americans in the first place, are preparing to start a war in Europe, and you can wage a war in Europe against Russia only,” Ivashov stated. Russia, he said, must draw “its own conclusions” and step up the Armed Forces’ defensive capabilities on its western flanks.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged the bloc members to make civilian infrastructure – including roads and bridges – meet military requirements to “improve the movement of troops and equipment within Europe.”
The measure, coupled with reorganization of NATO command structure is necessary to counter the alleged threat from Russian, Stoltenberg noted. “This is not only about commands. We also need to ensure that roads and bridges are strong enough to take our largest vehicles, and that rail networks are equipped for the rapid deployment of tanks and heavy equipment,” he said at a pre-ministerial press conference on Tuesday.
Ivashov said NATO’s moves are creating additional tension in the European theater, adding that “the Americans are frequently trying to stage some provocations.” The bloc may employ Russia’s legitimate response to such provocations – for instance, a border incident involving a military aircraft or a warship – to push the situation towards the brink of an armed conflict.
“This is the danger,” the general warned. “The Americans want Europe and Russia to battle each other in the European theater”