It is not only Britain that Russia has been challenging; the Kremlin has threatened the United States on numerous occasions and is on record as declaring that a new arms race has begun. Russia has been demonstrating its rapidly growing armed forces as it once again strives to compete with the United States on the world stage. The Kremlin has portrayed Russia as a victim of NATO and Western expansionism, a view not shared by the West. Russia claims to feel threatened by US plans to build missile detection and defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, and that has compelled them to renew the arms race. Although Washington has repeatedly stated these defence systems are to guard against attack from Iran, Russia claims that they are directed against it. Russia has now gone one step further, and threatened to deploy nuclear missiles in the Baltic if the United States persists with its plans.3 Recently, too, Russia has been provocative in its military exercises and demonstrations. Although its missiles were tested in neutral waters, NATO was closely monitoring the activities. Last year RAF planes were scrambled to intercept Russian jets that had apparently gone off course and flown into restricted British airspace over Scotland.
Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008 has spurred the latest threat from Russia to the United States. Russia is one of the few countries which refuse to recognise Kosovo's independence, whereas Britain and the United States have done so. The Russian Foreign Ministry released a chilling statement shortly after the United States declared its support for Kosovo - "We confirmed our principled position on the unacceptability of unilateral actions by Pristina [Kosovo's capital city] declaring its independence. We underlined the dangerous consequences of such a step, which threatens the destruction of world order and international stability which have developed over the decades."4 This is yet another example of Russia's increased aggression towards the United States, Britain and Western Europe.
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