Moscow (AFP) - Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday slammed as "extraordinarily dangerous" Poland's call to annul a NATO act that prevents it from having permanent military bases on its soil.
"We consider these statements to be extraordinarily dangerous and exceptionally provocative," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Poland's new right-wing Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski on Wednesday called for scrapping the 1997 act on NATO-Russia relations to let the alliance install the bases, saying the document causes "inequality" between new and old members of the alliance.
Zakharova said that Waszczykowski's statement was part of an attempt to rally Western public opinion ahead of next year's NATO summit in Warsaw and that the annulment of the deal could "bring down the existing European security system."
"We see here the desire to convey the irreversible course taken by the alliance on the military containment of our country," she said in a briefing.
The Polish foreign ministry insisted Thursday evening that Moscow had "clearly misunderstood" Waszczykowski.
"Of course he was not referring to the NATO-Russia Founding Act adopted in 1997, but to political declarations by NATO concerning the deployment of large military units in Central Europe."
The 1997 document stipulates that older NATO members "have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members" like Poland, Hungary or the Baltic countries.
It adds that NATO "will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces."
Russia has long insisted this provision clearly rules out permanent bases and troop deployments.