“Our attitude to NATO is well known. It’s a product of the Cold War and the confrontation of the Cold War,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a press conference in the capital Moscow on Tuesday, adding that the alliance “was constructed with the aim of and in the name of confrontation.”
The comments came on the eve of a NATO summit that would open in the Belgian capital, Brussels, mostly with the aim of reviewing demands by US President Donald Trump for extra spending from other member states along with an alleged growing threat members perceive from Russia, Presstv Reported.
“What the alliance is doing in the long run, advancing towards our borders, expanding NATO's military infrastructure towards our borders, each time confirms the nature of this alliance," Peskov said.
He added that Moscow had little contact with NATO and took no interest in a current row over spending by the 29-member military bloc after the American president claimed that Washington was “paying for 90 percent of NATO” expenditure.
“What’s going on there is none of our business,” Peskov concluded.
Last month, Trump sent letters to several NATO leaders, including those of Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada, asking them to increase their share of costs for the defense of the alliance. He also warned that the White House was losing patience over the spending issue.
Trump has publicly chided NATO allies before, but the individual letters weeks before the July 11-12 summit of the alliance could set the stage for tensions.
NATO members pledged to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on national defense in 2014, and Trump has repeatedly criticized them for not fulfilling that commitment.
The military alliance has been increasingly beefing up its presence in Eastern Europe and near the Russian border. Last month, Some 19 countries, mostly from NATO, stationed around 18,000 troops in Poland and three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. A multi-national NATO battle group conducted military drills under the US leadership in Poland while Germany, Britain and Canada led the operations in the three other countries.
Russia has been wary of NATO’s increased build-up near its borders while accusing countries like Poland of opportunism by trying to have a permanent NATO presence on its soil.
Tensions between Russia and NATO soured after a political crisis erupted in Ukraine in 2014. The West has accused Russia of having a hand in a protracted military conflict east of the country while it wants Moscow to cede control over Crimea, a former Ukrainian territory which joined Russia after a pro-Western government took office in Kiev four years ago.
Trump is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital of Helsinki on July 16, following a trip to Britain.