Published: 14:09, April 24, 2024 | Updated: 14:46, April 24, 2024
Moscow says NATO drills near Russian border increase risks of military conflict
By Xinhua
Servicemen fire a heavy machine gun from a warship on the river Danube during a Romanian Navy led exercise outside Mahmudia, Romania, March 30, 2023. Romania’s navy led multinational military drills in the Black Sea region that brought together US and NATO troops as the 30-nation alliance looks to boost security on its southeastern flank amid Russia’s ongoing conflict in Ukraine. (PHOTO / AP)

MOSCOW - The upcoming NATO exercises near the Russian border increase the risks of military incidents, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by local media as saying on Wednesday.

NATO exercises are scheduled to begin on Friday in Finland near the Russian-Finnish border.

ALSO READ: Zelensky: Ukraine to get largest-ever military aid package from UK

"The alliance continues the practical military development of a once neutral state, an authoritative participant in discussions on strengthening stability and security," Zakharova said, cited by Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

READ MORE: Think tank: Global military spending surges amid conflicts, rising tensions

Zakharova said that the Russian government is keeping a close watch on "the aggressive actions of the collective West."

She added that Russia is prepared to take "all necessary political and military-technical measures" to counter any threats to its national defense capabilities.  

Fires break out at fuel facilities in Russia

Fires broke out at fuel and energy facilities in the Smolensk Region in Russia, as the Ukrainian armed forces launched a drone attack, said the region's governor Vasily Anokhin on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Russian deputy defense minister detained on bribery charges

The region is "again under attack by Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles," the governor said on Telegram, adding that the staff of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations is working on site and asked residents to remain calm.

The Russian air defense forces are fighting against air targets, he continued, noting in all likelihood, the fires occurred as a result of the Ukrainian attack on civilian fuel and energy facilities in the Smolensk and Yartsevo districts.