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The increased intensity and scale of US-led NATO military exercises in the Baltics and Black Sea suggest the alliance is preparing for a major military conflict, said General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff.

NATO’s ramping up of large-scale war games in the Baltics, Poland and the Black Sea region show that it is gearing up for a major confrontation, Gerasimov said on Thursday, briefing foreign military attaches in Moscow.

“The scenario [of the drills] point that NATO is purposefully training its troops to be engaged in a major military conflict.”

Gerasimov pointed out that in addition to flexing its military muscles around Russian borders, the US continues to deploy its anti-ballistic missile systems to Europe, which Moscow considers to be an acute threat to its national security.

Furthermore, there is an ongoing smear campaign about a “Russian military threat” aimed at vilifying Moscow, the general said. Any military build-up attempted by Russia, transparent and defensive in nature, is being spun by Western media outlets and governments as a “threat to peace,” he added.

Russia has not been sitting idly in the face of the US and NATO military build-up and has been developing new cutting-edge weapons that are able to bypass any existing air defenses. One of them is Kinzhal, an air-launched hypersonic missile. Gerasimov confirmed on Tuesday that the missile had successfully completed a series of tests, including in the Arctic.



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