Putin boasts Russia has ‘surpassed’ US in weapons systems
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On Thursday, President Putin, 69, said the Western-backed military development of Ukraine posed a threat to Russia. The comments followed two days after the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin staged a show of support for Kyiv and encouraged its aspiration to join NATO.
Putin spoke to journalists and Russian experts about Mr Austin’s visit to Ukraine, when he said no third country could have the right to veto the country’s hoped NATO membership, which had paved the way for Kyiv to join.
Putin has suggested Russia’s interests were targeted.
Putin told the Valdai Discussion Club: “Formal membership (of Ukraine) in NATO may not take place, but military development of the territory is already under way.
He said: “And this really poses a threat to Russia.
“We are aware of that.”
The US has been Ukraine’s most powerful supporter since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The war between Russia and Ukraine, according to Kyiv, has killed nearly 14,000 people.
This week Russia broke diplomatic relations with NATO after the alliance kicked out eight members of its mission for alleged spying.
Speaking to the media on Thursday about incorporating Ukraine into NATO, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrei Rudenko said: “Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be an extremely dangerous step.”
In the last week Russia has reported three instances when it says its forces intercepted a US ship or aircraft on the point of breaching its waters.
It has also recently been announced President Vladmir Putin will not attend the upcoming climate change summit in Glasgow.
This week Putin has ordered Russians to stop work for a week amid record Covid daily deaths.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin announced “in order to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and to protect public health, the President has announced that October 30 to November 7, 2021, inclusive, will be paid non-working days.”
Putin’s condemnation of Western interference also comes after reports Britain was in talks to secure an arms deal with Ukraine.
A Ukrainian diplomat told the Times any conflict between Ukraine and Russia would cause “unpredictable consequences” for European security.
They said: “I think an escalation between Russia and Ukraine is highly possible and it could have unpredictable consequences for European security.
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“They don’t need Crimea, they need all of Ukraine, because the heart of the history, religion and culture is in Kiev, not in Moscow.
“Putin’s main ambition is the restoration of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was nothing without Ukraine.
“As long as Ukraine remains resistant, such countries as Georgia, Moldova and Kazakhstan feel themselves more or less safe because Russia is still busy with Ukraine.”
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