Putin says Russia has never intended to attack NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin

© APA | Russian President Vladimir Putin

# 19 December 2023 21:48 (UTC +04:00)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Moscow has never intended to attack NATO countries, APA reports citing Anadolu.

Speaking at a meeting with the Russian Defense Ministry Extended Board in Moscow, Putin said that the topic of the "Russian threat" is being promoted by the US to maintain its "status of master" on the European continent.

According to him, Washington was concerned about Russia's rapprochement with Europe and started promoting the topic of the "Russian threat," although Moscow has never had any such intentions.

Putin pointed out that on the contrary, NATO, in violation of the promises of its leaders, has been moving closer and closer to the Russian borders and now is "at its fence."

He stressed that Ukraine's membership in NATO is unacceptable for Russia at any time period. "From the point of view of historical prospects and strategic interests of the Russian state, even after 10, even after 15 years, this is unacceptable."

Putin emphasized that Russia had been trying to build neighborly relations with Ukraine for decades, but the West using nationalists "outplayed" Russia in 2014, and pushed "two brotherly nations" to the war.

"In 2014, they carried out a coup d'etat, and that's it, and they went on and on with this lawlessness. Well, they just forced us to respond to this outrage," he said.

Putin argued that "there would have been a massacre in Crimea if Moscow had not recognized the referendum on reunification with Russia held on the peninsula after the coup in Kyiv in 2014."

The Russian leader said that even after the coup the situation in Ukraine could have been settled peacefully if the West had implemented the Minsk Agreements, a set of accords aimed at resolving differences between the government in Kyiv and several eastern regions, but the leaders of Germany and France who stepped in as guarantors of the Minsk accords implementation in 2014, later revealed that the agreements were necessary only to give Ukraine time to prepare for war against Russia.

"The only guarantor -- I have already said this -- the only guarantor of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity was Russia. Other countries, and above all the US, are using Ukraine in their interests," he stressed.

The Russian army is quickly adapting to the new realities, Putin said, adding that the defense industry managed to quickly increase the production of weapons and military equipment.

"The level of modern weapons and equipment in the strategic nuclear forces as a whole has been brought to 95%, and the marine component -- to almost 100%. It is necessary to continue to maintain the combat readiness of strategic forces at the highest level. All the plans approved in this area will certainly be fulfilled," he said.