Putin: NATO’s move to Ukraine could ‘destabilize’ Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday warned that NATO troops or weapons deployed to Ukraine would act as a “green light” for other nations to join the alliance and aid the “destabilization” of the region.

On Friday, NATO issued an ultimatum, stating that it would move military assets to the region if Russia did not withdraw its forces and weapons from the country. The move has drawn the ire of Moscow, which has said it will respond to any further expansion of NATO by demanding NATO’s withdrawal from the entire Caucasus and Central Asia.

In a Sunday evening press conference, Putin said that Russia would not harm Ukraine but that it needed to ensure its borders against western encroachment, an increasingly aggressive group of forces that includes the United States and European Union.

“The other day, NATO leaders made a solemn promise not to go to this kind of step,” he said. “They all reiterated that the subject will not come up again.”

Putin explained that it was his nation’s right to protect itself from encroachment.

“Just as we do not worry about an attack in the Arctic, we would find it strange that they should do this in our territory,” he said. “First of all, Ukraine is on our borders and we cannot permit a similar situation to develop here that is occurring in the Arctic.”

Putin warned NATO that it would “spill over” into other conflicts, and “create a frenzy” if it deployed forces to Ukraine.

“We will respond to such actions by any means at our disposal,” he said. “We’re ready for this.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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