Thursday, June 30, 2022

Expanding NATO squares up to Russia as Putin slams ’imperial’ alliance

The United States vowed to reinforce Europe’s defences in the wake of Russia’s special operation  in Ukraine, as NATO declared Moscow the West’s greatest threat - prompting Vladimir Putin to lash out at the alliance’s "imperial ambitions".

Meeting in Madrid Wednesday, NATO leaders said Russia "is the most significant and direct threat to allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area".
This came as NATO officially invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, and US President Joe Biden announced new deployments of US troops, ships and planes.

Biden said that the US move was exactly what Russian President Putin "didn’t want" -- and Moscow, facing fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces equipped with Western arms, reacted with predictable fury.
Putin accused the alliance of seeking to assert its "supremacy", telling journalists in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat that Ukraine and its people are "a means" for NATO to "defend their own interests."
"The NATO countries’ leaders wish to... assert their supremacy, their imperial ambitions," the Russian president added.
NATO leaders have funnelled billions of dollars of arms to Ukraine and faced a renewed appeal from President Volodymyr Zelensky for more long-range artillery.
"Ukraine can count on us for as long as it takes," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said at the summit, which ends Thursday, announcing a new strategic overview that focuses on the Moscow threat.
The document, updated for the first time since 2010, warned that the alliance "cannot discount the possibility" of an attack on its members.

"Today in Madrid, NATO proved it can take difficult but essential decisions. We welcome a clear-eyed stance on Russia, as well as the accession for Finland and Sweden," Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
But Putin dismissed NATO’s invites to Finland and Sweden, which abandoned decades of military non-alignment in response to the invasion, as "no problem".

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