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Putin: US portrays Russia as its foe because it does not need such a big country

Ukraine will serve as a NATO foothold for a strike against Russia, should it join the alliance, Russian President said

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. The United States is portraying Russia as an enemy for the sole reason it does not want to see such a big country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Monday.

"Ok, you do not want to have a friend and ally like us, but why depicting us as an enemy then? The answer is one. Our political regime or something else does not matter. They simply do not want to see such a large and independent country as Russia," Putin said, adding that this answered all questions. "This is a source of traditional US policy on the Russian track.

NATO foothold

Ukraine will serve as a NATO foothold for a strike against Russia, should it join the alliance, Putin said.

"I will explain, that the US strategic planning documents […] stipulate an option of the so-called preemptive strike on enemy’s missile systems. And we know who the main enemy for the US and NATO is. It is Russia. NATO documents officially, straightforwardly declare Russia as the main threat for Euro-Atlantic security. And Ukraine will serve as a foothold for such a strike," he said.

He noted that, should the ancestors have heard about it, "they would have not believed it."

"And we do not want to believe it as well. But it is so. I would like people both in Russia and Ukraine to understand this," the President noted.

Integration with NATO

The Ukrainian troop command and control systems are already directly integrated with NATO and the alliance has started exploiting Ukraine’s territory, Putin said.

"The Ukrainian troop command and control systems are already integrated with NATO. This means that the command of the Ukrainian armed forces and even separate formations and units can be directly exercised from NATO headquarters. The United States and NATO have already begun shamelessly exploiting Ukrainian territory as a theater of potential military operations," the head of state said.

"We see how the Kiev regime is being persistently beefed up militarily," Putin stressed. "The United States alone has channeled billions of US dollars for these purposes since 2014, including the deliveries of armaments, ammunition and specialist training. In recent months, Western weapons have been continuously flowing into Ukraine demonstratively as seen by the entire world," he said.

The activity of the Ukrainian armed forces and special services is directed by foreign advisers, Putin pointed out. "We know well about that. Military contingents of NATO countries have been present actually constantly on the territory of Ukraine under various pretexts in recent years," the Russian president said.

"Regular joint drills [of Ukraine and NATO) have a clear anti-Russia bias," Putin pointed out.

"Last year alone, they involved over 23,000 troops and more than 1,000 pieces of equipment. A law has already been adopted on admitting the armed forces of other states to Ukrainian territory in 2022 for participation in multinational drills. It is clear that this primarily involves NATO troops. This new year no less than 10 such joint maneuvers have been planned. It is obvious that such events serve as a cover-up for NATO’s quick military build-up on Ukrainian territory," the Russian president said.

Russian concerns about its security

NATO simply doesn’t care a jot about Russia’s concerns about its security and is going to continue to behave this way, Moscow will never put up with it, Putin said.

"No doubt, they plan to implement these plans. As they used to do many times in the past years when they expanded NATO to the east and moved their military infrastructure and weapons closer to the Russian borders, completely ignoring our concerns, protests and warnings. And obviously, I think, they will continue to behave this way in the future, being guided by the proverb dogs bark but the caravan moves on. I will say it right away: we have never agreed to that and will never agree," he said.

Ukraine’s admission to NATO

Russia has all the grounds to think that Ukraine’s admission to NATO and the deployment of NATO weapons in that country is a foregone matter, Putin said.

"Following the United States’ withdrawal from the treaty on shorter-and intermediate-range missiles, Pentagon is openly developing a range of ground-based offensive arms, including ballistic missiles capable of reaching goals at a distance of up to 5,500 kilometers. If such systems are deployed in Ukraine, they will be able to hit targets in entire European Russia, and even across the Ural Mountains. Tomahawk approach time to Moscow will be 35 minutes, ballistic missiles from Kharkov will reach it in 7-8 minutes, and it will take 4-5 minutes for hypersonic offensive means to do it. It is like a knife at the throat. I have no doubts that they want to implement these plans," he said.