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Russia A 'Real And Present Danger' To NATO States

There is a "real and present danger" Russia could repeat its covert campaigns in the Crimea and Ukraine to destablise former Soviet bloc countries, the Defence Secretary has warned.

Michael Fallon said NATO must be ready for Russian aggression against alliance members including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

He warned the action could involve using irregular troops, cyber attacks and inflaming tensions with ethnic Russian minorities.

"NATO has to be ready for any kind of aggression from Russia, whatever form it takes. NATO is getting ready," he said.

Mr Fallon added that he was worried about Russian President Vladimir Putin's "pressure on the Baltics".

Earlier this month, two long-range Russian bombers flew down the English Channel off the coast of Bournemouth.

"It is the first time since the height of the Cold War that has happened and it just shows you the need to respond each time he does something like that," he added.

His comments come after Prime Minister David Cameron urged Europe to tell Russia it faces economic and financial consequences for "years to come" if it continues to destabilise Ukraine.

"Those Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, they are using Russian rocket launchers, Russian tanks, Russian artillery, you can't buy this equipment on eBay.

"It hasn't come from somewhere else, it's come from Russia and we know that.

"So we have to be very firm and strong about the sanctions and say to Vladimir Putin: 'What you are doing is unacceptable and it will have economic and financial consequences for many years to come if you do not desist with your behaviour'."

"Of course there's a temptation for every European country just to say 'Let's go on trading exactly as we have done with Russia, let's leave responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine to someone else and let's turn away'.

"I am afraid that would be a terrible mistake and Britain has been leading the argument in Europe, saying Russia's behaviour in Ukraine has been completely unacceptable and consequences must follow that in terms of sanctions."

Source: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/russia-real-present-danger-nato-states-072327922.html#HtueNs6