Russia’s relations with NATO countries have become “distressing”, the possibilities of cooperation with the European Union are “narrowing”, interaction with the United States is “in an unsatisfactory state” after the expulsion of Russian diplomats, which made it impossible for Russian embassies to function normally, said Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the board of the Foreign Ministry.
Not so long ago, relations between Russia and Western countries, including the United States, “were simply unique,” we were almost allies, Putin recalled. But the situation has changed dramatically, and the blame for this, according to Putin, lies solely with the West. NATO has conducted “several waves of expansions”, and the infrastructure of the bloc is located near the Russian borders. Their missile defense systems are deployed in Romania and Poland, which, according to Moscow, can be used for attack purposes.
“Western partners exacerbate the situation by supplying Kyiv with lethal modern weapons, conducting provocative military maneuvers in the Black Sea. As for the Black Sea, this generally goes beyond certain limits. Strategic bombers fly at a distance of 20 kilometers from our state border, and they, as you know, carry very serious weapons,” Putin said.
The European Union, according to Putin, continues to “push us away with sanctions, unfriendly actions and unfounded accusations,” and the United States has been pursuing a “provocative line” for five years, practicing sweeping entry bans and restrictions for Russian diplomats.
“Our property in the United States was seized in violation of all international norms and rules. It was a gross violation. They just took away the property, and that’s all,” Putin was indignant.
Russia, he said, constantly expresses concerns about various “red lines”, but the attitude of Western partners was “to put it mildly, very superficial”.
However, the situation has begun to change recently. Warnings have produced a certain effect, Putin said.
“A certain tension did arise there. And in this regard, I see two points here. First, it is necessary that this feeling [of fear] is preserved in them as much as possible. And secondly, it is necessary to raise the question, Sergey Viktorovich (Lavrov), about how to ensure that Russia has serious long-term guarantees for the security in this direction,” Putin addressed the Foreign Minister.
“Russia cannot exist like this and constantly think about what can happen there tomorrow,” he added.
Putin does not see Russia’s fault in the collapse of relations with the West. According to him, Russia is a peace-loving country that is committed to developing partnerships “with all countries and regional associations,” Putin said.
“We do not need conflicts,” he stressed, and as an example of effective interstate cooperation, he called relations with “neighbors and friends from the People’s Republic of China.”
“Now bilateral relations (with China) have reached the highest level in history and have the characteristics of a comprehensive strategic partnership,” the president said.