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NATO’s Call for a ‘Military Schengen’: Escalating Tensions with Russia

The Kremlin asserted on Friday that NATO’s aspiration for a military counterpart to the Schengen Zone in Europe, enabling unimpeded movement of alliance armed forces to counter Russia, has elevated tensions and instigated apprehension.

Lieutenant-General Alexander Sollfrank, the head of NATO’s logistics command JSEC, expressed in a Thursday Reuters interview his desire for such a zone. He voiced concern about bureaucratic impediments across Europe hindering troop mobility, potentially causing significant delays in the event of a conflict with Russia.

While NATO actively supports Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, the alliance itself is not in direct confrontation with Moscow. U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders emphasize the avoidance of hostilities given Russia’s extensive nuclear capabilities.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned of a response if the proposal for a ‘military Schengen’ materializes. He criticized NATO’s consistent portrayal of Russia as a presumed adversary, alleging that the alliance’s approach escalates tensions and neglects Moscow’s legitimate apprehensions, prioritizing its security over Russia’s.

Peskov highlighted NATO’s continual eastward military infrastructure expansion toward Russia, emphasizing Moscow’s commitment to ensuring its own security in response. Since the Cold War’s conclusion, NATO has extended its reach over 1,000 kilometers eastward, absorbing former Warsaw Pact nations and augmenting its eastern flank to a total of 4,000 kilometers.

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