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Putin: US Can’t be Trusted to Honor its Promises

Putin: US Can’t be Trusted to Honor its Promises
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By Staff, Agencies 

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that hopes for a deal with Washington to limit NATO expansion in Eastern Europe are slim, arguing that even a signed agreement could be torn up by the American side at a moment’s notice.

In a speech to Moscow’s senior military officers on Tuesday, Putin said he no longer viewed the West as a dependable partner. Russia has been seeking written assurances about the presence of US troops and hardware near its borders, he said, but even those assurances could not be depended on.

“We need long-term legally binding guarantees. But you and I know them well. And that is something that cannot be trusted,” Putin went on, noting that the US “easily withdraws from international treaties that it becomes uninterested in,” apparently referencing Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. The accord, inked between the USSR and US in 1972, intended to limit both sides’ missile defense capabilities. 

“You and I both know very well: under various pretexts, including the purpose of ensuring their own security, that they act thousands of kilometers away from their national territory,” he said. “When international law and the UN Charter interfere, they declare it all obsolete and unnecessary.”

The Russian president added that he considered NATO’s further expansion into Eastern Europe a consequence of the “euphoria” that stemmed from the West’s apparent victory in the Cold War and the result of a misanalysis. He also expressed his confusion at the US-led military bloc’s encroachment on his country’s borders despite the friendly relations between Moscow and the West at that time.

Putin stressed that Russia was ready to take both military and technical measures as a response to what it perceived as the unfriendly steps taken by Washington, insisting that it was Moscow’s right to do so.

His remarks come shortly after Moscow issued two documents, one addressed to NATO and the other to US officials, requesting a range of guarantees it said were aimed at boosting the security of all parties.

The proposals focus on the movement of military personnel and hardware, and include the requirement that Ukraine’s long-held requests to become a member of the bloc would not be granted. A separate document calls for current NATO members to desist from any military activity on Kiev’s territory, as well as in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia.

In the draft agreement sent to Washington, Moscow requested that officials make a firm commitment to ruling out the enlargement of the bloc to include any other former Soviet republics. Speaking via video link earlier in December, Putin told his US counterpart, President Joe Biden, that Russia was “seriously interested” in getting “reliable and firm legal guarantees” that would prohibit NATO’s expansion further eastwards, as well as the deployment of “offensive-strike weapons systems” nearby.

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