Russian President Vladimir Putin accused NATO of “imperial ambitions”. The military alliance is trying to assert its “supremacy” through the conflict in Ukraine, Putin told reporters Wednesday in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabad, where a round of the so-called Caspian Five took place. In addition to Russia and Turkmenistan, there are also Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran.
“Ukraine and the well-being of the Ukrainian people are not the goal of the collective West and NATO, but a means to defend their own interests,” Putin said.
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Russia does not see itself threatened by Putin’s words if Finland and Sweden join NATO, but will take military countermeasures. “There is nothing that worries us about the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO. If you want – please,” said the head of the Kremlin. But countries would have to prepare for a Russian reaction.
“They need to get a clear picture that they have not been threatened before – but if there are troops stationed there and the infrastructure is in place, we will have to respond in a mirrored way and create the same threats in the territory. from which we are threatened,” Putin said, as reported by the Tass agency.
“The work is quiet, rhythmic, the troops are moving”
“Everything was fine between us, but now there will be some tensions – that’s obvious, without a doubt, it can’t be without it.” Russia has already threatened consequences after the first plans for the two countries to join NATO.
Under the influence of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Finland and Sweden decided to give up a decade of neutrality and join NATO. The admission process was launched at the Alliance summit in Madrid on Wednesday. The expansion will extend Russia’s border with the alliance by more than 1,300 kilometers.
More than four months after Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began, Putin again claimed that hostilities were proceeding according to plan. In an almost lyrical tone, he stated: “The work is quiet, rhythmic, the troops move and reach the lines given to them as milestones.” “Everything is going according to plan,” he said, as reported by the Russian news agency Tass.
On February 24, Russian troops invaded Ukraine from several directions. After they could not reach the capital city of Kiev due to the fierce resistance of the Ukrainian units, they concentrated on the industrial zone of Donbass in eastern Ukraine. According to Western experts, the Russian army is advancing, suffering heavy losses and rapidly depleting its artillery shells.
Putin repeated a previous description of the goals of the “special operation,” as the Russian leadership calls a war of aggression. It is about “liberating” Donbass, “protecting” its inhabitants and “creating conditions that would guarantee Russia’s security”, said the Russian president.. NATO wanted to turn Ukraine into an “anti-Russian bridgehead”, Putin repeated earlier justifications for the attack.
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Putin declined to comment on how long the fighting might continue. “It would be wrong to set any deadlines,” he said. More intense fighting would mean more casualties and “the main thing we have to think about is how to save the lives of our boys.”
Putin called Russian soldiers “heroes”. Songs and poems should be written about them and monuments erected to them, he said.
Ukrainian and international experts have documented numerous cases of violence against civilians by Russian soldiers, such as the killing of residents in the Kyiv suburb of Buch. Moscow claims that the crimes were staged.
Putin counters G7 leaders’ jokes
Recent quips at the G7 summit about shirtless photos of Putin did not go down well with the Kremlin chief. If the G7 leaders had exposed themselves, it would have been a “disgusting sight”, Putin said.
The conversation Putin touched on took place at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria on Sunday afternoon. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked whether jackets should be taken off or not given the high temperatures, adding: “We all have to show that we are tougher than Putin.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answered, among other things: Riding shirtless, you have to do it. He alluded to the famous photo of Putin in such a pose.
“I don’t know how they wanted to undress, above or below the waist. I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case.” Putin was quoted by the Russian news agency Tass.
For harmony between body and soul, you need to do sports, not drink too much alcohol and give up other bad habits, Putin told the heads of state and government of the leading democratic industrialized countries. Until Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, which belongs to Ukraine, in 2014, Russia was a participant in extended G8 summits. (dpa, AFP)