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17 Dec, 2023 12:21

Russia wants to improve ties with NATO, not fight – Putin

Moscow has no fundamental disputes with Western countries, but they insist on confrontation, the president has said
Russia wants to improve ties with NATO, not fight – Putin

Russia does not have the slightest reason to attack NATO, President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that the US-led military bloc is well aware that Moscow has no plans to do so.

In an interview with Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin aired on Sunday, Putin was asked to comment on remarks by US President Joe Biden, who said earlier this month that Moscow might attack the alliance if it prevails in the Ukraine conflict.

The Russian leader dismissed his American counterpart’s speculation as “nonsense.”

“I think that President Biden understands that this is just a figure of speech to justify his misguided Russian policy,” he said, explaining that he does not believe Moscow’s “strategic defeat” would be in the interests of the US.

Putin went on to say that the president of the United States – which he called the “master” of NATO – surely knows that “Russia has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily... in waging war against NATO.”

Moscow, he added, has no claims on the territory of the bloc’s member states and only seeks to improve ties with them. However, the West’s political course is making this increasingly difficult, Putin noted, citing the example of Finland, which applied to join NATO after the start of the Ukraine conflict and became a full-fledged member in April.

Russia has no disputes with its Nordic neighbor, Putin said, noting that the last territorial claims were settled after the end of WWII. “We had the most open-hearted, cordial relations… We had no problems, but now are going to, because we are going to create the Leningrad military district and deploy certain military units there. Why did they need that?”

The president added that Russia has no quarrel with other NATO states either. “It is they who are artificially creating problems with us because they don’t want Russia as a rival.”

Russian officials have repeatedly described relations between Moscow and Washington as being at an all-time low, blaming the situation on the US’ support for Ukraine, as well as the country’s stance on arms control.

Earlier this month, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the two powers are balancing on the brink of a hot war, with the last similar stand-off dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.

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