DUBAI, October 13. /TASS/. Russia sees the expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure closer to its borders as an attempt to neutralize its strategic nuclear potential but is convinced that this attempt is doomed to failure, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with RT Arabic, Al Arabiya and Sky News TV channels on Sunday ahead of his visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The Russian leader recalled that elements of NATO’s anti-missile defense system had already been deployed in Romania and would soon appear in Poland. "It will be really close to our border. It is certainly a threat to us. We see it as an attempt to neutralize our strategic nuclear capabilities. However, it is clear their efforts are doomed to failure," Putin said, adding that such systems in these countries, as a matter of fact, were of no threat to Russia, with its cutting edge weapons, including hypersonic ones.
"Still, there is nothing positive about it. So yes, we do see this as destructive activities that escalate tension. There is nothing good about it," he noted.
According to the Russian leader, Russia has always felt the threat from NATO’s approaching its border and repeatedly voiced its concerns. But NATO nations used to say there was nothing threatening about that as "NATO is changing, it is no longer a military bloc, it does not have belligerent intentions", and stuff like that," he said.
"In the meantime, the North Atlantic Treaty remains in place, in particular Article 5, if I am not wrong, that guarantees military support to other members, etc. It is a military bloc. As its infrastructure is moving closer to our borders, we are not happy about it," Putin stressed.
He also noted that it was "clear to everyone that NATO is just a US foreign policy tool". "Europe is aware of it. Take the French president. I do not need to make anything up. Another trick is that once countries join NATO, they have no say over the arms that are installed on their territory," he added.