White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to place Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert was an example of “Manufacturing threats that don’t exist.” Putin, however, says he gave the order after NATO officials made “aggressive statements” against Russia.
“It’s really a pattern we’ve seen from President Putin throughout this conflict, who fabricates threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression,” he added. PSAKI told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos. “And the global community and the American people should look at it through that prism.”
Shortly before Psaki’s speech, Putin ordered that Russia’s deterrent forces – which include various strategic weapons, both nuclear and conventional – be placed on “special” alert. Putin said he made the decision based on “Aggressive statements against our country” of NATO countries. He also denounced the sanctions imposed by the West as “illegitimate.”
NATO’s response to the Russian military offensive has been to step up arms deliveries to Ukraine, while the United States and its European allies have imposed economic sanctions on Moscow, including expelling some Russian banks of the global SWIFT network.
“At no time was Russia threatened by NATO, Russia was not threatened by Ukraine. All of this is a model of President Putin,” PSAKI added.
Shortly thereafter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said CNN that NATO – which was formed during the Cold War for the explicit purpose of countering the Soviet Union – does not view Russia as a “imminent threat.” Nevertheless, Stoltenberg insisted that the alliance remains open to the idea of Ukrainian membership, which Russia has always opposed.
While Psaki has insisted that NATO poses no threat to Russia, Moscow sees things differently. Russia opposed the expansion of the alliance into the former Warsaw Pact states, something their Western counterparts promised not to do when the Cold War ended, but did it anyway.
Throughout the negotiations leading to the conflict in Ukraine, as the West refused to rule out Kyiv’s NATO membership, Russia repeatedly said that the alliance’s weapons on its borders would pose a threat. unacceptable for safety.
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