Interfax: Russian defence chief “seriously concerned” by US counterpart’s statement

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, October 16, 2014) US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s statement on the necessity of preparing the American army for “dealing with the Russian armed forces” is evidence that military scenarios near the borders of the Russian Federation are being worked on, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu has told journalists.

“Chuck Hagel’s point on the necessity of preparing the American army for ‘dealing with modern and battle-ready’ Russian armed forces ‘at the threshold of NATO’ causes serious concern. This is evidence that Pentagon is working on scenarios of operations near the borders of our country,” Shoygu said.

Shoygu noted that he personally knows the American Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel. “Therefore, his speech at the annual conference of the United States Army, in which the Russian armed forces were described as a military adversary, was surprising, to put it mildly,” Shoygu said.

According to him, “in today’s world there is no single hotbed of tension where the American military are not present”. “Moreover, after their ‘mission to promote democracy’ is completed, such regions plunge into truly bloody chaos. The examples are known: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and now Syria. Even the tragic events in Ukraine could not escape the presence of open mentoring by representatives of an operational group of the United States Central Command,” Shoygu said.

“Russia’s sovereignty, ensured by its army and navy, will always be the frontier over which more than one Western emperor has broken their teeth during all 1152 years of our country’s history,” the Russian defence minister said.

“As regards Russia being at the ‘threshold of NATO’, who but Washington itself stubbornly pushed this ‘threshold’ towards our door during the past 20 years?” Shoygu said.

According to him, “instead of stirring up tensions from a distance, candid dialogue on the entire agenda of our relations with Western partners is needed today”. “This is the only way to find mutually acceptable ways to preserve the existing balance of forces and strengthen the strategic stability,” Shoygu said.

[featured image is file photo from past event]