NATO's action against Russia is not provoking, said Latvia's Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Raimonds Graube in an interview with commercial LNT television on Tuesday.
He underscored that NATO is not proactive but reactive, no matter how the Russian media might present it. There are several dozens of combat-ready Russian airplanes opposed to several NATO airspace policing jets. The NATO military exercises in Latvia involve 3,000-3,500 troops, described in Russia as large-scale exercises, while the Russian exercises in its Western region involved participation of up to even 100,000 troops.
He said that NATO members are careful so that their decisions could not be interpreted as escalating.
The Chief of Defence also said that the probability of an open, conventional war is very small.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced recently that there is a "new Cold War" between Russia and the West.
"NATO's political course remains unfriendly and closed towards Russia. It can be said in harsher terms: we have actually slipped into a period of a new Cold War," said Medvedev at the Munich Security Conference.
"We are declared almost daily the most menacing threat for NATO as a whole or separately for Europe or for America or for other countries. Meanwhile, real threats, which exist in our small world and, I hope you understand this, consist in something quite different," he said.
Russia's relations with the West have nosedived in the last two years amid Western concerns that Russia is growing more autocratic and especially due to policy differences about Ukraine, where Russia annexed the province of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Medvedev's comments came three days after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced the military alliance would increase its presence in the Black Sea, which surrounds Russian-annexed Crimea.