NATO military expansion to Ukraine 'direct threat' to Russia's security: Putin
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 7:39 AM
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that expansion of NATO military activity to Ukraine constitutes a "direct threat" to the security of his country.
Putin made the remarks during a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, according to a statement by Kremlin.
The call came amidst heightened tensions between Moscow and the Western countries over alleged Russian military deployment on Ukraine's border.
The Russian leader emphasized the need for immediate talks with the West to come up with a clear, international legal agreements that would prevent NATO's further expansion east and the deployment of weapons that threaten Russia to neighboring states, primarily Ukraine, Kremlin said.
"Vladimir Putin gave a detailed outline of his principal evaluation of the current situation around Ukraine," the Kremlin said of the Monday's call.
"It was underlined that all this is happening against the background of active military 'expansion' on the territory of Ukraine by NATO countries creating a direct threat to the security of Russia," it added.
The Russian president has already warned the West and Kiev against crossing the Kremlin's red lines by staging military exercises and sending lethal weaponry to Ukraine.
During a video call with US President Joe Biden earlier this month, Putin demanded guarantees against the NATO expansion eastward.
On Monday, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also warned of a potential face-off if Washington and the US-led NATO military alliance fail to give Moscow security guarantees.
Ryabkov's remarks cited by the Moscow-based RIA news agency reiterated Putin's demand for legally binding security guarantees that NATO will not expand closer to its borders.
Commenting on Monday's telephonic talk between the two leaders, Downing Street said Johnson expressed the UK's deep concern over the alleged build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine's border, warning that "any destabilizing action would be a strategic mistake that would have significant consequences".
The United States, its NATO allies and Ukraine accuse Moscow of military buildup near Ukraine's border as well as planning an invasion. Russia says there is no such plan, warning against any provocation from Ukraine that could trigger such an invasion.
Moscow accuses Washington of being involved in aggressive moves in the Black Sea, where Ukraine and the United States have held military drills recently.
On Saturday, the US and Britain threatened Russia with "massive consequences" if it launches a military action against Ukraine, despite Moscow's repeated denial of such plans.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have gone through declension since 2014, when the then Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to rejoin the Russian Federation.
Ukraine, along with its Western allies, also claims Russia has a hand in the ongoing conflict that erupted in the Donbass region between Ukrainian government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014.
Moscow denies the allegation. It says the US and NATO are turning Ukraine into a "powder keg" by increasing arms supplies to Kiev and inflaming tensions in the country's volatile east.
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