The President stated in his annual press conference on Thursday that Moscow has said “loud and clear” that “it is unacceptable that NATO continues to move eastward”.
The Russian head of state asked whether it is an excessive and rare demand that the West not place more missile systems near Russia, and questioned “what would Americans think if we, for example, decided to come to the border between Canada and the US or Mexico and the US and deploy our missiles there?”
NATO countries are the ones who should provide security guarantees to Russia and not the other way around, he declared, answering a question about what guarantees Moscow can provide that it will not attack Ukraine or any other sovereign state.
According to Putin, it is not Russia the one creating threats to other countries. “Did we come to the borders of the United States or the United Kingdom? They have come here. And now they say that Ukraine will be in NATO. Then systems will also be placed there,” he said.
For the President, Russia was deceived “blatantly” when it received assurances in the 90s of last century that the Atlantic Alliance would not grow eastward. “Five waves of NATO expansion. And there you go — they’re now in Romania and Poland, with weapons systems,” Putin said, and added they are currently threatening to deploy them in Ukraine.
The Russian president reiterated that Russia constructively and quickly formulated and sent its proposals on security guarantees to Washington and NATO, and further noted that Moscow is willing to discuss those documents on the platform of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).