Top Russian official says US dictates NATO spending

  • World
  • Tuesday, 02 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: A NATO flag flutters next to the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania July 10, 2023. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

(Reuters) - A top official in Russia's Security Council said the United States was imposing economic obligations on its NATO partners and setting conditions for buying specific weapons and equipment.

Nikolai Patrushev told the Argumenty I Fakty news outlet the Kremlin's aims in more than two years of conflict in Ukraine remained the same as NATO continued to press close to Russia's borders.

Patrushev said the United States and Britain were exploiting Russophobia "to firmly bind other NATO states to them through economic obligations".

"The United States is profiting by increasing the capacity of the military-industrial complex and dictating to its allies the conditions for purchasing very specific types of weapons and uniforms from their manufacturers," Patrushev told Argumenty I Fakty in an interview published on Tuesday.

Defence spending by NATO had risen for the ninth year running and accounted for half of world-wide expenditure, he said.

Patrushev cited as an example Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who had agreed to boost defence spending and, as a result, was imposing tax increases.

"She was obliged to go along with this act of political suicide as alliance members must submit to 'bloc' discipline by boosting military spending," Patrushev said.

Kallas, a NATO member which was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and secured independence in 1991, last month urged other members of the Alliance to sharply boost defence spending as part of a "collective effort" to counter Russian actions.

The Baltic States, Poland and other east European countries have been the most vocal proponents of punitive actions against Russia.

NATO countries, including the Untied States, say Russia's invasion of Ukraine amounts to a simple land grab and overturns the inviolability of post-Soviet borders.

European nations, Patrushev said, had "long lost many elements of their sovereignty and essentially amount to merely an economic and political support for the alliance".

The notions of independence and responsibility before their citizens had been "subordinated to pleasing Washington's aims".

NATO, Patrushev said, was "systematically boosting its military potential along our borders from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea" and holding manoeuvres close to Russian territory.

"The plans of the United States and NATO are to keep Ukraine, or at least part of it, as a fully anti-Russia territory completely acting in the interests of the North Atlantic bloc," he was quoted as saying.

"In this sense, the tasks of the demilitarisation of Ukraine remain the same."

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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