Putin Accused the United States of Increasing Tensions in Europe

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The Russian President said that what the United States is currently doing on the territory of Ukraine is unacceptable for his country. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov warned that Ukraine’s admission to NATO would mean crossing the “red line”. Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid the conflict over Ukraine, said that Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees are not an ultimatum, but stressed that Russia has nowhere else to retreat. “What they (the USA - Ed.) are currently doing on the territory of Ukraine or are trying and planning to do, it’s not a thousand kilometers from our national border, it’s basically at our doorstep. They should understand that we simply have nowhere else to retreat,” Putin said at the Russian Defense Ministry board expanded meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, December 21. The Russian president blamed the United States for increasing tensions in Europe. Putin noted that even during the good relations period, the United States, according to him, “supported separatism in the North Caucasus, expanded NATO, withdrew from the ABM treaties,” but today, he said, a situation has arisen where Russia “has to make a decision.” At the same time, Putin rejected the opinion about Russia’s ultimatum position and expressed hope for constructive negotiations with the United States. Lavrov: Ukraine’s admission to NATO is crossing the “red line” Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia would consider further expansion of NATO as crossing the “red line”. “Our position on NATO expansion is not a secret – it will be a “red line” if the alliance continues to move closer to the Russian Federation borders,” the minister stressed at a press conference in Sochi on December 21. Recently, the conflict over Ukraine has sharply escalated. The West reported that Russia had deployed up to one hundred thousand soldiers to the Ukrainian border. The United States suggested that at the beginning of next year Russia could start a war against Ukraine. The West has threatened Russia with the toughest sanctions in such a case. Ukraine calls for sanctions against Moscow even in a preventive manner. For its part, Russia rejects accusations of preparing for war with Ukraine and, for its part, accuses the West of arming Ukraine and conducting maneuvers near the Russian borders. DW