MOSCOW (Eurasianet)–Russian parliamentarians on April 22 targeted fellow Commonwealth of Independent States members Moldova, Azerbaijan and Armenia for agreeing to participate in the May 6 North Atlantic Treaty Organization drills in Georgia, Interfax reported.
“The fact that Armenia is going to participate in them [the NATO exercises] is particularly baffling, as it [Armenia] is our partner in the Collective Security Treaty [Organization],” said Semion Bogdasarov of the Fair Russia party.
Moscow says the exercises will embolden the Georgian government and pose a threat to Russia. Adopting increasingly muscular language, President Dmitry Medvedev described NATO’s decision to proceed with its plans despite Moscow’s protests as “myopic and not conducive to establishing closer ties between Russia and NATO.” He said on April 17 that Russia would take “appropriate measures” if needed, Interfax reported.
NATO, Washington and Tbilisi have been dismissive of the Kremlin’s concerns. “These exercises are not a threat to Russia, to anybody else, and they’ve been in the planning stages for a long time,” State Department Spokesperson Robert Wood told an April 21 briefing.