Putin accuses NATO of ‘creating permanent tension’ with Russia

Putin accuses NATO and West of 'creating permanent tension'

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Vladimir Putin has accused NATO of putting “permanent pressure” on Russia and “creating tensions” on its borders as he reignites his attempts to blame the West for his invasion of Ukraine. Addressing an audience in Moscow, the Russian autocrat accused NATO of trying to “make Russia more vulnerable” and using it as a “tool for achieving their own geopolitical goals”, suggesting any nation that does not conform to Western ideals is punished. Putin also claimed Russia had “tried to build relationships” with the West but was told ‘No’ by leading European countries, suggesting he had no choice but to invade Ukraine. 

Putin said: “We tried to build relationships with leading countries in the West, and with NATO as well. We had one message: ‘Let’s stop being an enemy to each other. Let’s leave disharmony. Let’s build a dialogue of trust and, therefore, peace. 

“In that, we were absolutely sincere. I would like to highlight that. But what did we get in return? In a nutshell, it was basically a ‘No’ on all dimensions of possible cooperation. 

“What we got in return was permanent pressure on us and creating tensions at our borders, and, if I may ask, what was the goal of that pressure? 

“Was it just to practice? Of course not. The goal was to make Russia more vulnerable and to turn Russian into a tool for achieving their own geopolitical goals.” 

Tensions between Putin and the West have reached further heights in the last few weeks as Russia made several public threats to use nuclear missiles over the conflict in Ukraine. 

On September 21, Putin warned the West he was not bluffing when he said Russia would use “all available means to protect Russia and our people”.

“This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them,” Putin said.

Following the annexation of four territories in the south and east of the conflict zones, amounting to 18 percent of Ukrainian territory, on September 30, Putin suggested it was within his power to use nuclear missiles if NATO-backed Ukrainian forces invaded those areas. 

He added that the United States had created a “precedent” by dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

And he again repeated Kremlin policy that it would defend Russian land “with all the powers and means at our disposal”. 

The Kremlin chief also said the West was plotting to destroy his country, engaging in “nuclear blackmail” by allegedly discussing the potential use of nuclear weapons against Moscow.

While the nuclear threat from Russia against the West has been downplayed by experts, Putin’s rhetoric demonstrates the degree of disharmony between Russia and the West. 

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Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine as sweeping counter assaults pushed back Putin’s forces and out of cities they had occupied for much of the conflict prior to September. 

The nuclear threats, as well as the annexations, have increased, experts suggest, by way of trying to demoralise Ukrainian civilians and their Armed Forces in light of their recent successes on the battlefield. 

Addressing the fact that Russian soldiers had died fighting in Ukraine, Putin said on Thursday that he thought constantly about those that had fallen, but that, on account of NATO’s aggression, he had had no choice but to launch its “special military operation”. 

He said the costs of the conflict were unavoidable and necessary to the strengthening of its sovereignty. 

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