Putin warns the West about Ukraine’s “red line” | Cowra guardian

Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly warned NATO not to send its troops and weapons to Ukraine as it would be a red line for Russia and would spark a strong response.

On the West’s concerns about Russia’s alleged intention to invade Ukraine, he said Moscow was equally concerned about NATO exercises near its borders.

Speaking to participants in an online investment forum, Putin said that NATO’s eastward expansion had threatened Russia’s key security interests.

He expressed concern that NATO might eventually use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles that could reach Moscow in just five minutes.

“The emergence of such threats represents a ‘red line’ for us,” Putin said on Tuesday.

“I hope that it does not come to that and that common sense and responsibility for our own countries and the world community will prevail at some point.”

Russia has been forced to face the growing threats posed by the development of new hypersonic weapons.

“What should we do?” said Putin. “We’d have to develop something similar to attack those who threaten us. And we can do that now.”

Ukrainian and Western officials this month expressed concern that Russian military build-up near Ukraine could signal Moscow’s plans to invade its former Soviet neighbor.

NATO foreign ministers warned Russia on Tuesday that any attempt to further destabilize Ukraine would be a costly mistake.

The Kremlin has insisted it had no such intention, accusing Ukraine and its Western supporters of making allegations of covering up their own allegedly aggressive plans.

Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014 after the country’s Kremlin-friendly president was ousted from power by mass protests and also thrown his weight behind a separatist uprising that broke out in eastern Ukraine.

Earlier this year, a surge in ceasefire violations in the east and a concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine fueled war fears, but tensions eased when Moscow withdrew most of its forces after maneuvers in April.

Putin argued that to avoid tension, Russia and the West should negotiate deals that would protect each party’s security interests.

The Russian leader noted that Russia was concerned about NATO exercises near its borders, referring to a recent exercise involving US strategic bombers.

After Russian troops built up near Ukraine earlier this year, Putin and US President Joe Biden held a summit in Geneva in June where they agreed to enter into dialogue on strategic stability and cybersecurity.

Putin on Tuesday welcomed the cybersecurity talks between Russian and US experts, saying: “As with the pandemic, it is necessary to pool efforts in order to work efficiently”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to a reporter’s question about the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine at Air Force One and said: “We are deeply concerned about the heightened rhetoric about the reported military build-up at the border “.

Australian Associated Press

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