US President Barack Obama has warned Russia against its “aggressive” military build-up in northern Europe.
Obama made the remarks on Friday after meeting with Nordic leaders from Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark at the White House.
“We are united in our concern about Russia’s growing aggressive military presence and posture in the Baltic-Nordic region,” he said.
Earlier, Obama said the US and Nordic countries agreed on the need for a peaceful European order.
“We believe that our citizens have the right to live in freedom and security, free from terrorism, and a Europe where smaller nations are not bullied by larger nations,” he said.
However, Obama said Washington would be prepared to counter any perceived Russian aggression.
“We will be maintaining ongoing dialogue and seek cooperation with Russia but we also want to make sure that we are prepared and strong and we want to encourage Russia to keep its military activities in full compliance with international obligations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Denmark, Norway reportedly agreed to contribute to “enhanced allied forward presence” with the North Atlantic Organization Treaty (NATO).
The United States on Thursday activated a land-based missile system in Romania, despite Russia’s warning against a systematically increasing US-led arms deployment near its borders.
The missiles’ activation marked the penultimate step in the completion of a missile shield, which Washington proposed nearly a decade ago.
Senior American and NATO officials attended the activation ceremony in Deveselu, southern Romania.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin strongly criticized the deployment of the US missile system near his country, and vowed to neutralize any threats against Russia.
“Now that these anti-missile elements have been installed we will be forced to consider putting an end to the threats emerging in relation to Russia’s security,” Putin said during a meeting with military officials.
He also stressed that Moscow is doing its best to sustain strategic balance of power.