- President Vladimir Putin of Russia reiterated his demand for assurances from the US and its allies that NATO will not expand eastward.
- Tensions have risen again in recent weeks, following the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated his demand for guarantees from the United States and its allies that NATO will not expand eastward, blaming the West for “growing tensions in Europe.”
Putin’s speech to Russia’s top military brass came just days after Moscow submitted draught security documents demanding that NATO deny Ukraine and other former Soviet republics membership and scale back the alliance’s military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe — bold demands that are almost certain to be rejected.
The demands, which are included in a proposed Russia-US security treaty and a Moscow-NATO security agreement, were drafted amid rising tensions over a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine, which has stoked fears of an invasion.
Russia has denied any plans to attack its neighbor, but it has demanded legal guarantees to prevent NATO expansion and weapons deployment in the country.
Putin claimed on Tuesday that if missile systems from the US and NATO appear in Ukraine, it will only take minutes for those missiles to reach Moscow.
“For us, it is the most severe challenge — a threat to our security,” he said, explaining that the Kremlin requires “long-term, legally binding guarantees” from the West, rather than “verbal assurances, words, and promises” that Moscow does not trust.
Putin acknowledged that NATO has expanded eastward since the late 1990s but reassured Russia that its concerns were unfounded.
“Every step of the way, what is happening now, the rising tensions in Europe, is their (US and NATO’s) fault,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “At every turn, Russia has been forced to respond.
The situation continued to deteriorate and deteriorate, worsening and worsening. And now we find ourselves in a situation where we must find a solution.”
After annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, gaining control over the long coastlines of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, and backing a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine that still controls territory there, Russia’s relations with the US sank to post-Cold War lows.
Tensions have risen again in recent weeks, following the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border.
Putin has pressed the West for assurances that NATO will not expand or deploy forces in Ukraine, and he brought up the issue during a video call with US Vice President Joe Biden two weeks ago.
More than 120 personnel from US private military companies are currently operating in two villages in war-torn eastern Ukraine, training Ukrainian troops and setting up firing positions in residential buildings and other facilities, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“We have nowhere to retreat,” Putin said of the United States.
“What they’re trying to do and plan to do on Ukraine’s territory isn’t thousands of kilometers away; it’s right outside our front door,” he said.
“Constructive, meaningful talks with a visible result — and within a certain time frame,” Putin added, “that would ensure equal security for all.”
“We do not want armed conflicts or bloodshed, and we do not want such developments. We want to resolve issues through diplomatic and political means, “Putin stated the following.
Source: CTV News
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