‘This is our land’: Russia rejects US criticism of weapons deployment to Crimea

Mi-28 "Night Hunter" helicopters in Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia © Evgeny Biyatov
A senior Russian diplomat has dismissed US criticism over deploying weapons and forces to Crimea, saying the Russian Federation is absolutely free to protect its national security by moving forces anywhere on its territory.

In reality, Russia has the right to base the movement of military forces and weapons on its territory on its own independent decisions,” the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Security and Disarmament Mikhail Ulyanov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Friday.

READ MORE: Russia to boost military presence in Crimea, response to NATO E. Europe expansion

Ulyanov added that Russia had always chosen more correct formulas when it made public statements about the structure and placement of US military forces.

We do not attempt to tell Washington which armed forces and in which numbers they can send to any of their states. The fact that they allow themselves to release such recommendation regarding us can be perceived as not quite politically correct, to say the least,” he noted.

Ulyanov also said that Russia had to take into consideration the fact that NATO members from outside the Black Sea region were sending their Navy ships to the Black Sea. This situation does not add up to mutual security and has to be included in the Russian military planning, he noted.

READ MORE: Russia has right to place nuclear arms on its soil, including Crimea - Foreign Ministry

The official told reporters that Russia had not received any proposals concerning the extension of the New START agreement, but if such proposals were to arrive they would be studied in accordance with all norms of international relations.

In June last year, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that Russia retained the right to deploy its nuclear weapons anywhere on its national territory, including on the Crimean Peninsula.

Back then, the statement came as a reply to allegations that the deployment of Russian arms in Crimea would be a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, made by pro-US Ukrainian politicians.