NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu issued a statement to Reuters on Wednesday insisting that all of NATO’s military deployments along the Russian border, which include substantial Western European and US forces, are purely defensive in nature.
Lungescu contrasted the NATO deployments to the Russian military’s own forces inside Russia, as well as claiming it had troops in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova without permission, reflecting NATO not recognizing the same territorial changes as Russia.
Either way, she insisted the troops could pose no real threat to Russia itself, and were only there to “deter any possible aggression.” Despite this, other NATO officials have repeatedly referred to the troops in the Baltics as “spearhead” forces pointed at Russia.
Several years ago, US officials were hyping the threat of a Russian invasion of Europe as a need to build up Western forces along their border. Though no one appears to think that was ever a realistic threat, it’s continued to be used as an excuse for adding more troops to the frontier, and seems to remain NATO’s go-to talking point to this day.