Putin lashes out at NATO for creating ‘division’ in Europe – ‘Made for confrontation’

Vladimir Putin discusses US-based cyber attacks towards Russia

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The Russian President wrote in the German newspaper Die Zeit to mark 80 years since the Nazi’s invaded the Soviet Union. While saying Russia wants to foster relations with a “united” Europe, Mr Putin attacked NATO as a “relic of the Cold War”. NATO, also the North Atlantic Alliance, is a military union between 30 European and North American countries that implements the North Atlantic Treaty, signed on April 4, 1949.

Mr Putin claimed NATO has dashed any hopes of a united Europe, and stated the body was “created for confrontation”.

Referencing NATO’s expansion, he said: “We hoped that the end of the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe.

“But a different approach has prevailed based on the expansion of NATO, a relic of the Cold War.

“Since 1999 there have been five more “waves” of NATO expansion, 14 other states joined the alliance, including former Soviet republics, which de facto dashed all hopes for a continent without dividing lines.”

Referencing efforts to embrace countries like Ukraine, Mr Putin added NATO is responsible for increasing tensions on the continent.

He wrote: “The whole system of European security has now degraded significantly.

“Tensions are rising, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real.

“We simply cannot afford to carry the burden of past misunderstandings, hard feelings, conflicts, and mistakes.

“Our common and indisputable goal is to ensure security on the continent without dividing lines, a common space for equitable cooperation and inclusive development for the prosperity of Europe and the world as a whole.”

The Russian President also argued many European countries are faced with an “ultimatum” to work with Moscow or the West.

Mr Putin sensationally claimed the US and other Western countries “aggressive policy” led to the 2014 Ukraine revolution, which resulted in Russia annexing Crimea.

The Ukrainian crisis was sparked when President Viktor Yanukovych suspended preparations for greater integration within the EU, leading to mass protests, in an effort to maintain economic ties to Moscow.

In his opinion piece, Mr Putin argued the US’s actions in the Ukraine and the EU states support of the protestors led to the annexation of the Crimea from the Ukrainian state.

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It comes after Mr Putin attended a summit with US President Joe Biden earlier in June.

Speaking after the summit, the Russian President said Mr Biden “doesn’t miss anything” and informed reporters the talks were productive.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow expected the US to keep trying to “contain” Russia, and added: “The [Russian] president’s words about the constructive mood during the summit do not indicate that we have moved away from a sober assessment of our bilateral relations with the United States.

“Pragmatism and sobriety are most important in these relations. And both suggest that the constructive, positive results of the summit absolutely do not indicate that the United States will abandon its policy of containing Russia.”

The US and other NATO countries were enraged by Russia’s build-up of troops on the border of Ukraine earlier this year.

Moscow deployed two armies and three airborne formations to border Ukraine, claiming it was part of readiness drills that would continue for two weeks.

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu also said at the time Moscow’s exercise was provoked by what he said were efforts by the US and its NATO allies to beef up their forces near Russia’s borders, “threatening” Russia.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg described the deployment as “unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning”.

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