Serious business: Putin calls for the end of NATO’s eastward expansion

Serious matter
Putin calls for the end of NATO’s eastward expansion

Broken promises and another approach to the Russian border – Moscow believes the threat is growing. President Putin is demanding a change of course and guarantees from the military alliance. Meanwhile, all those involved are concerned about the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked NATO to end the eastward expansion. Russia needs “strong, reliable and long-term security guarantees” from the Western military alliance, Putin said at a meeting with foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin. “In the dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist that concrete agreements be drawn up that exclude any further advance by NATO to the east and the stationing of threatening weapons systems in the immediate vicinity of the Russian Federation.”

These guarantees must also be legally binding, demanded the Kremlin chief. Earlier verbal promises that NATO would not expand eastward were not kept by the Western partners.

At the same time, Putin complained that the West was doing everything to hinder Russia’s development – for example through sanctions and by stirring up tensions at the country’s borders. “The threat to our western borders is indeed increasing.” The Kremlin chief emphasized that it is a serious matter for Russia that NATO has moved its military infrastructure very close to Russia’s borders. Therefore, the country must take military and technical steps.

NATO recently accused Russia of relocating large numbers of troops to the border with Ukraine, thereby putting its neighbors under pressure again. Ukraine speaks of 115,000 Russian soldiers. The Kremlin has now accused Ukraine of having transferred more than 120,000 soldiers to the line to the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. There is a risk that Ukraine will try to take back the breakaway territories with military force, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “It’s a very dangerous adventure.”

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