Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed in a press briefing of December 3, that NATO is “pushing Ukraine and Georgia into their activities, training them to ‘confront’ Russia during joint maneuvers and exercises.”
Underscoring that NATO’s expanded activities in the Black Sea “raises serious concerns” to Russia, Zakharova said “we are forced to reckon the buildup of military activities of the Alliance and its member states and respond accordingly.”
“The emergence of a new player [in the Black Sea], clearly not with the best intentions, undermines regional stability and drives a wedge between neighboring countries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson concluded.
Zakharova reacted to the remarks made by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on December 2 after the NATO Foreign Ministerial, which hosted, among others, the Allies’ joint session with Georgian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers on the Black Sea security.
Stoltenberg then stated that Russia continues violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine, its military build-up in Crimea, as well as increasing deployment of forces in the Black Sea region – a move that NATO responds to “by strengthening our presence on land, at sea and in the air.”