Russian Parliament Warns NATO of 'New Cold War'

Putin, Naryshkin and Matviyenko
Vladimir Putin (C) prepares to sign documents at the State Duma, Russia's lower parliament house, March 21, 2014. It seems the president has just ratified the wrong version of a firearms law. Sergei Chirikov/Poo/Reuters

Russian lawmakers have warned NATO that its reinforcements in Eastern Europe risk sparking a new Cold War and will prompt Moscow and her allies to view the region as a target for retaliation, state news agency Itar-Tass has reported.

NATO has been discussing what measures it can implement on its eastern flank for two years, since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 triggered concern in former Communist allies that it could seize their territory next. There are no permanent NATO deployments in Eastern Europe, with Russia and NATO having agreed to maintain this status quo in 1997.

NATO has attempted to provide limited presence in its eastern allies since expanding well into Moscow's former sphere of influence, without breaking the agreement. With Russia's annexation of Crimea and actions in the east of Ukraine in 2014, NATO introduced a number of measures, including opening a missile defense base in Romania. The missile defense shield in Eastern Europe is a cause for serious concern in the Kremlin.

Russia's lower house of parliament (State Duma) endorsed a motion to condemn these moves on Thursday and issued a warning to NATO allies and Balkan countries that are not part of the alliance.

Members of parliament called plans for futher NATO expansion "a dangerous trend, seemingly intended not for defense, but for waging a new Cold War."

"In a scenario when the NATO leadership is trying to justify the reason for its existence by concocting a confrontation with Russia, members of the State Duma consider it necessary to unite efforts with colleagues abroad to overcome dangerous tendencies, capable of causing a political and armed confrontation," the statement reads.

The parliamentarians condemned the U.S. anti-missile defense system placed in part on the territories of Poland and Romania, arguing that it also has the potential of hitting Russia, not only missiles set for Eastern Europe.

"Such actions, despite the insistence that they affirm European security, on the contrary, turn whole regions of Eastern and Southeastern Europe into hostages of this policy, thus automatically turning them into zones of a retaliatory hit, in the case of a military conflict," the statement read.