Alexander Grushko, the Russian ambassador to NATO, commented that “We will take all necessary measures, precautions, to compensate for these attempts to use military force.” in response to a US naval destroyer that sailed too close to Russian territory in the Baltic Sea.
Mr. Grushko was speaking after a meeting with the US NATO ambassador, part of a series of meetings that make up the NATO-Russia Council which was designed to increase consultation between the rivals. The meeting was the first since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, an event that sent relations to a Cold War low. A little more than a week ago a similar event took place in the Baltic Sea which reversed the two countries positions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry commented that under the “rules of engagement” the USS Donald Cook could have opened fire upon Russian SU-24 attack planes that made numerous passes, in one instance getting within 10 meters of the navy vessel. Though Russian jets have been involved in similar events numerous times in the last few years.
After years of military withdraw from the region, NATO is currently undergoing a massive buildup of military presence in Eastern Europe, particularly the Baltic States, in response to Russian activities in Ukraine and to prevent the nation from taking similar actions in the future.
Russia has also been increasing its military activity recently, mostly in regards to its naval capabilities. In addition to adding new vessels to its submarine attack fleet, Russia has reportedly increased its patrols on the coasts of Scandinavia, Scotland, as well as in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic, by at least 50% since last year.