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November 22, 2019
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NATO Deputy Secretary General Vershbow in Bucharest: Russia’s practice of unannounced exercises, a source of worries

Russia’s practice of announced exercises is a source of worries for the North-Atlantic Alliance, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told a news conference with Romania’s Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu in Bucharest on Monday.

The Romanian diplomacy will be a strong factor as far as setting the agenda of NATO in the future is concerned, said Vershbow, according to Agerpres.

He added that unity is currently the most valuable asset of NATO’s.

After the NATO Summit [in Warsaw], the allied countries have decided to react jointly to Russia’s aggressive manifestations, as well as to more complex challenges. The Alliance is more united than ever, added Vershbow.

The deputy secretary general of NATO mentioned that the unannounced military exercises of Russia generate potential misunderstandings in the region.

The practice of Russia conducting unannounced military exercises is a source of worries, he said, adding that Russia is entitled to conduct such exercises. Unfortunately, he said, the OSCE agreement that mentions that announcement of military exercises has loopholes that allow such manifestations. I do not believe the exercises contribute to stability or mutual trust, added Vershbow, mentioning that they generate a potential for misunderstandings, erroneous calculations and there are opinions that we should settle the legislative loopholes.

The NATO official added that Russia has conducted more than 10 such exercises over the past two years, arguing that if Moscow were interested in stability, that would not be the way of getting it.

 

“We are worried about Russian media’s efforts to deliberately misinform”

 

NATO officials are generally worried by the continuing efforts of the Kremlin-controlled Russian state media to deliberately broadcast misinformation and also falsities to shape the public opinion in the NATO member states, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow told a joint news conference with Romania’s Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu in Bucharest on Monday.

His statement was made as allegations were aired of nuclear weapons managed by NATO being moved from Turkey to Romania after a failed coup in Ankara.

As a general rule, he said, we neither confirm nor deny information about the sites of nuclear weapons, but we are taking very seriously the safety and security of nuclear weapons stationed in NATO member states and managed by NATO, and we are trustful that their safety and security are maintained. He added that the Allies do not intend, plan or see any reason why to deploy nuclear weapons to the soil of new NATO member states.

He also mentioned an attempt by the Russian media to misinform.

Vershbow added that he cannot say with any certainty whether this is an example of Russia misinforming or Russia’s efforts to advance someone else’s misinformation, but NATO is generally worried about the continuing efforts by the Kremlin-controlled Russian state media to deliberately carry misinformation and even falsities in an attempt to shape public opinion in NATO member states.

Romania’s Foreign Minister Comanescu said he agrees with Vershbow’s statement: “I fully agree with what ambassador Vershbow has said about the way in which certain information is being conceived and circulated, and I believe that has to be kept in mind when such information emerges, as well as to what extent continuing discussions about it or continuing disseminating opinions on such matter is useful,” said the Romanian chief diplomat.

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