Russia is thoroughly analyzing Washington's response to its European security proposals, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, adding that it has already become “clear” that the US has disregarded Russia’s “fundamental” concerns following crunch talks between the two sides.
According to him, the American response is lacking any “adequate” considerations of three key demands put forward by Moscow, including a pledge that NATO not expand further to the east. He was speaking during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Moscow.
Washington only focuses on a nations’ right to freely choose the manner of ensuring their own security, including through alliances they deem necessary, the Russian president said. However, he argued that the US disregards another key principle of European security, which says that no state should be allowed to enhance its own security at the expense of another.
Moscow has maintained that NATO "promised" it would not move its military infrastructure further to the east, and this verbal vow appears to be backed up by some recently unsealed documents. In reality, however, the bloc has deployed its forces close to Russia's borders in the Baltic States, Poland, and Romania, Putin noted, adding that NATO "took advantage" of the country.
He added that American missile defense systems deployed to Poland and Romania could be used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles to potentially hit targets located "thousands of kilometers into Russian territory."
"Is it not a threat to us?" the president asked.
Commenting on Ukraine's potential NATO membership, Putin said that Kiev has an official, documented doctrine that includes an intention to regain control over the Crimean peninsula, "including through military means."
If Ukraine does join NATO, Kiev could start a military operation in the region, and this might lead to a Russia-NATO conflict, he explained. Moscow wants to avoid such a scenario, Putin added, while stressing that Russia's interests must also be taken into account.