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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baluyevsky Calls U.S. Expansion a Threat

APYury Baluyevsky
General Yury Baluyevsky, the country's top military officer, said the United States was expanding its economic, political and military presence in Russia's traditional zones of influence, and described it as the top national security threat.

Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff, said Russia now faced even greater military threats than during the Cold War and that the nation needed a new military doctrine to respond to these challenges, according to a speech posted on the Defense Ministry's web site Friday.

"Russia's cooperation with the West on the basis of forming common or close strategic interests hasn't helped its military security," Baluyevsky said in the speech, delivered at a recent security conference in Moscow. "Moreover, the situation in many regions of the world that are vitally important for Russia and near its borders has sometimes become more difficult."

Baluyevsky referred to what he called "the U.S. military leadership's course aimed at maintaining its global leadership and expanding its economic, political and military presence in Russia's traditional zones of influence" as a top threat for Russia's national security.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, meanwhile, said Russia would find an "intellectual response" to U.S. plans to deploy missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic -- two former Soviet satellite states that now are members of NATO -- according to an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine posted on the ministry's web site Friday.

Russian officials have assailed the United States and its NATO allies for their refusal to ratify an amended version of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty that regulates the deployment of military aircraft, tanks and other heavy non-nuclear weapons around the continent.

Russia has ratified the amended version of the treaty signed in 1999, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do that until Russia abides by its commitment to withdraw troops from Moldova and Georgia.

In the remarks posted Friday, Lavrov said the failure to ratify the amended document had "led to very serious imbalances between the armed forces," since the arsenals of former Soviet allies which that have joined NATO were counted alongside Soviet weapons in the original 1990 CFE Treaty.

Amid growing distrust of U.S. intentions, Russian lawmakers and commentators reacted nervously to recent comments by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates naming Russia as a potential threat.