On November 5th, Russia observed US spy planes and other aircraft operating near its borders, with other surveillance aircraft operating over Syria. This is nothing particularly new, as American / Western policy has been to try to place pressure on Moscow by its use of military force for wargames and exercises. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed this behavior in very direct terms in a talk he gave in Portugal:
The United States encourages dangerous military activities at Russian borders in Europe, and this subversive policy jeopardizes the European security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Portuguese daily newspaper Publico.
Lavrov slammed “geopolitical games that the United States and its ideological allies from a number of countries play” and the “blindness of the EU bureaucracy” for triggering Ukrainian crisis. Lavrov voiced his belief that the crisis had ruined the “atmosphere of confidence,” which “responsible leaders from Russia and key European states” had been creating for many years.
“The architecture of the Russia-EU dialogue is seriously damaged. European producers suffer multibillion losses, the Kiev regime wages war against its own people, a new conflict emerged in Europe, while the United States suffers no losses at all… Moreover, [the United States] takes advantage of the situation to encourage dangerous military activities at Russian borders, and to promote arms race in our region, while we all used to hope that there was no place for a new cold war there,” Lavrov said.
He added that the security of the European people was “becoming hostage to the subversive policy pursued from overseas.”
TASS reported on a closely related matter as well, noting that the November 23 incursion of Kosovar Albaninan special forces into the Serbian-populated part of Kosovska Mitrovica was a manifestation of this US / NATO behavior in effect. The Foreign Ministry continued:
Russia considers as a provocation Kosovo special forces’ incursion into the Serbian-populated areas of the territory, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary released on Friday.
“We consider as another Pristina’s provocation the incursion of the Kosovar Albaninan special forces into the Serbian-populated part of Kosovska Mitrovica in the morning of November 23, the detention of four local residents,” the foreign ministry said. “Pristina’s course for ethnic cleansing and unleashing a trade war in the Balkans is apparent, in line with the Kosovo ‘government’ decision on November 22 to impose 100% tariffs on Serbian goods, including food, medicine, printed products, and so on.”
“Such measures mostly affected Serbs in the area. The aim was to create unbearable living conditions for them,” the foreign ministry noted.
Moscow strongly condemns Pristina’s escalation of the conflict, the ministry said. “We are surprised by lack of response from international security forces in Kosovo that are operating on the basis of a UN mandate and are supposed to not only appropriately react to provocations, but also to act preventively to avoid escalation,” the foreign ministry stressed. “One gets an impression that the European Union and the USA, after favoring Kosovars for many years, are either unable to rein in their mentees or support their aggressive course.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted “the Serbian leadership’s responsible position as they make attempts to ease tensions.”