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Friday, May 27, 2022

Putin warns West: Moscow has ‘red line’ about Ukraine, NATO


MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday issued a stern warning to NATO against deploying its troops and weapons in Ukraine, saying it represented a red line for Russia and would launch a strong response.

Commenting on Western concerns about Russia’s alleged intention to invade Ukraine, he said Moscow is equally concerned about NATO exercises near its borders.

Talking to participants of an online investment platform. Putin said that NATO’s eastward expansion threatens Russia’s core security interests. He expressed concern that NATO may eventually use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes.

“The emergence of such threats represents a ‘red line’ for us,” Putin said. “I hope it doesn’t reach that far and that common sense and responsibility to our own countries and to the global community will eventually prevail.”

He said Russia has been forced to counter the growing threats by developing new hypersonic weapons.

“What should we do?” Putin said. “We will need to develop something similar to target those who threaten us. And we can still do that.”

He added that a new hypersonic missile that is set to enter service with the Russian Navy early next year would be able to reach the target in comparable time.

“It will also take only five minutes to reach those who issued the order,” Putin said.

The Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, capable of flying more than nine times the speed of sound to a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), recently underwent a series of tests on Monday.

Ukrainian and Western officials have expressed concern this month that a Russian military build-up near Ukraine could signal a plan by Moscow to invade its ex-Soviet neighbour. NATO foreign ministers warned Russia on Tuesday that any attempt to further destabilize Ukraine would be a costly mistake.

The Kremlin insists it has no such intentions and has accused Ukraine and its Western backers of making claims of concealing their alleged offensive designs.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, after the country’s Kremlin-friendly president was ousted from power by mass protests and threw his weight behind a separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s east. .

Earlier this year, a rise in ceasefire violations in the east and a Russian troop concentration near Ukraine fueled war fears, but tensions eased after Moscow withdrew a large number of its forces after a maneuver in April. Done.

Putin argued that to avoid tensions, Russia and the West should negotiate agreements that would protect the security interests of each side.

When asked whether Russia was going to invade Ukraine, he said, “It is not a matter of whether to send troops, go to war or not, but more fair and stable development and the security of all international players.” keeping in view the interests of the , “If we sincerely strive for it, no one will be afraid of any danger.”

The Russian leader noted that Russia is concerned about NATO exercises near its borders, pointing to a recent exercise that involved US strategic bombers.

“The strategic bombers, which have precision weapons and are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, were flying about 20 kilometers (12 miles) near our border,” Putin said. “It represents a danger to us.”

After Russian troops built up near Ukraine earlier this year, Putin and US President Joe Biden held a June summit in Geneva, where they agreed to begin talks on strategic stability and cyber security. Putin on Tuesday lauded discussions on cyber security between Russian and US experts, saying “just like in the pandemic, it is essential to pool efforts to work efficiently.”

Asked about plans for a Biden-Putin call next month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday at Air Force One that she “has nothing to predict or preview at this point.” ,” adding that “obviously, we will be in high level with Russian counterparts in follow-up to the summit this summer.”

Responding to a question about the threat of Russian aggression in Ukraine, Saki said, “We are deeply concerned about the heightened rhetoric about the alleged military build-up on the border.”

In Russia, when asked about Biden seeking a possible second term, Putin said he thought it would help political stability in the US. The Russian leader drew parallels with his own re-election plans.

Even though Putin has not yet decided whether to seek another term before his current term ends in 2024, he said the prospect of his stay has helped Russia’s stability.

The 69-year-old president has been in power for more than two decades – longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Constitutional amendments approved in 2020 reset Putin’s previous term limit, allowing him to run for president twice and remain in power until 2036.

“According to the Constitution, I have the right to be elected to a new term, but I have not yet decided whether to do it or not,” Putin said. “But the existence of that right already stabilizes the domestic political situation.”

Asked about China’s nuclear build-up, Putin said Russia is not concerned about it, adding that close ties between Moscow and Beijing are “a key factor in global stability”.


Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed to this report aboard Air Force One.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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