Putin slams NATO for ‘ag­gres­sive’ ac­tiv­i­ties, rhetoric

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

MOSCOW—Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Wed­nes­day slammed NATO for ratch­et­ing up its rhetoric and its “ag­gres­sive ac­tions” close to Rus­sia’s bor­der, warn­ing it was forc­ing Moscow to in­crease its mil­i­tary ca­pac­ity.

“NATO is step­ping up its ag­gres­sive rhetoric and its ag­gres­sive ac­tions close to our bor­ders,” Putin told lawmakers on the 75th an­niver­sary of the in­va­sion of the USSR by Nazi Ger­many.

“In these con­di­tions, we are obliged to ded­i­cate spe­cial at­ten­tion to re­solv­ing tasks con­nected with height­en­ing the de­fence ca­pa­bil­i­ties of our coun­try.”

Putin also ac­cused the West of re­ject­ing Rus­sian over­tures to help tackle the com­mon foe of “in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism” — as it once ig­nored the Soviet Union’s warn­ings about Hitler — as it seeks to iso­late Moscow over the Ukraine cri­sis.

“Once again, as it was on the eve of World War II, (we) are not see­ing a pos­i­tive re­sponse,” Putin said.

Re­la­tions between Rus­sia and the West have slumped to their low­est point since the Cold War over Moscow’s 2014 an­nex­a­tion of Crimea from Ukraine and its al­leged mas­ter­mind­ing of a sep­a­ratist up­ris­ing.

Rus­sian air­craft have also in­creased ten­sions re­cently by launch­ing a se­ries of provoca­tive in­ter­cepts of NATO, Swedish and other air­craft.

Fears of Rus­sian ex­pan­sion­ism have sent a chill through NATO mem­bers such as Es­to­nia, Latvia, Lithua­nia and Poland and seen the USled al­liance bol­ster its pres­ence in east­ern Europe. Gen­eral Ben Hodges, the com­man­der of US ground forces in Europe, warned in a news re­port Wed­nes­day that NATO would cur­rently be un­able to pro­tect the Baltics against a Rus­sian at­tack.—AFP

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