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Putin Charges that NATO Is ‘Trying To Draw Us into a Confrontation’

Feb. 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—In public remarks at a Kremlin meeting yesterday with the board of the state security service (FSB), Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that NATO is

"provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation. We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilize the social and political situation in Russia itself."

Putin charged that the situation had worsened since the NATO summit last July in Warsaw Poland, where

"Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission. It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion. This expansion was already underway earlier, but now they believe they have more serious reasons for doing so. They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states."

Nonetheless, Putin stated,

"it is in our common interests to restore dialogue with the U.S. intelligence services and with other NATO member countries. It is not our fault that these ties were broken off and are not developing."

Putin has stated on various occasions that he hope that this deterioration from the Obama years would be rectified under President Trump.

Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, had similar remarks in speaking with the press after he participated in the Brussels meeting of the Russian-NATO Council. Grushko noted that there seems to be some recognition in NATO of "the danger of having no communications channels with us," but so far not much has been achieved. He too slammed NATO provocations, saying that

"the decision to increase NATO’s naval presence in the Black Sea is, in any case, yet another step towards escalating tensions in the regions of vital importance for Russia."

He added that Russia is reinforcing its forces in the south and in Crimea in response to NATO’s increased presence. "We are rearming our group in Crimea. Naturally, we will take all necessary measures to duly ensure Russia’s interests in this regions."