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Operation in Ukraine was forced decision, says Medvedev

He recalled that in the recent decades no one wanted to hear Russia’s concerns

VOLGOGRAD, July 17. /TASS/. NATO’s expansion is a direct threat to Russia, that is why Russia’s special operation in Ukraine was a forced decision, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday.

"You know which goals were set by the president of our country when he made a decision to conduct a special military operation. It was a forced decision," he said at a meeting with WWII veterans during his trip to Russia’s southern Volgograd region.

He recalled that in the recent decades no one wanted to hear Russia’s concerns. "About the endless, non-stop expansion of NATO, the refusal to reckon with our concerns, Ukraine’s refusal to settle the conflict that flared up in 2014 and that caused sufferings to lots of people in Donbass," he said. "Nobody was ready to hear that as though there were no such problems. NATO is no threat to you - what’s the big deal, a couple of countries more. As a matter of fact, we see it perfectly well that it is an open and direct threat, especially in conditions of what happened to Crimea," he added.

He cited the situation around Crimea as an example. "If any state, either Ukraine or a NATO country, thinks that Crimea is not part of Russia, it is a systemic threat to for us. And if such a country is a member of a hostile bloc <…>, it is a permanent threat for us," he stressed.

So, in his words, if power in Ukraine is in the hands of "another frenzy nationalist or a weak figure, a conflict, up to an attack, is inevitable." "That is why the [Russia] president made this decision," he added.