Putin accuses the WEST of ‘escalating’ Ukraine border tensions
‘Russia’s red lines are not being taken seriously’: Putin accuses the WEST of ‘escalating’ Ukraine tensions by carrying out military drills close to his border as he tests a hypersonic missile
- Putin said ship drills in the Black Sea and bomber flights near Ukraine border are ramping up tensions in the region and show Russia is not being taken seriously
- President said West selling weapons to Ukraine was also destabilising the region
- As he spoke, Russian navy tested what it called ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic missile
- Putin has been building up thousands of troops and tanks on Ukraine’s border
Vladimir Putin has accused the West of ‘escalating’ tensions around Ukraine by building up forces on his border, even as thousands of Russian troops, tanks and artillery pieces sit close by.
The Russian president said Europe and the US had carried out ship drills in the Black Sea and flown bombers close to the frontier – crossing ‘red lines’ and showing that Russia is not being taken seriously.
As he spoke, the Russian military test-fired an ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic Zircon missile at a target in the White Sea – saying it scored a direct hit.
It comes after Washington accused Putin of preparing for an invasion of eastern Ukraine in order to annex territory as he did with Crimea in 2014.
Vladimir Putin warned that military drills close to Russia’s border, including American naval drills in the Black Sea (pictured) are responsible for tensions in the region
Putin accused the West of failing to take his ‘red lines’ seriously, even as thousands of Russian troops and tanks sit close to the border
UK defence minister Ben Wallace travelled to a NATO base in Poland to speak with the country’s defence minister Mariusz Blaszcza. Mr Wallace is pictured third from left with soldiers after exercises in the Polish village of Bemowo Piskie, around 65 miles from the Belaris border, today
‘Western partners are escalating the situation by supplying Kiev with lethal modern weapons,’ Putin said, even as Ukraine’s defence minister revealed he has asked Brussels and Washington for more military tech.
He said Moscow has been ‘constantly raising concerns about this’ but ‘all our warnings and talk about red lines are treated superficially’.
Putin has been voicing concern about US naval exercises in the Black Sea for days, telling his French counterpart this week that they were ‘provocative’ and leading to ‘increasing tensions’ between Moscow and NATO.
He has also slammed Ukraine for using a Turkish-made drone against pro-Moscow rebels.
It came as Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said he is in the process of agreeing a ‘Russian containment package’ with allies in Washington and Brussels including ‘increased sanctions’ as well as ‘supplies of additional weapons’.
Speaking today, Mr Kuleba said: ‘Russia’s aggressiveness, both diplomatic and military, increased considerably in recent weeks.
‘Ukraine is already actively consolidating partners in countering hybrid threats.
The minister said that after his visits to Washington and Brussels in recent days, ‘work is underway to develop a comprehensive package of containment of Russia’.
Ukraine has been fighting a years-long proxy-war against Russia, which supports separatist rebels in the country’s eastern regions.
It stems from the 2014 rebellion which ousted pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych and led to Russian annexing Crimea in the aftermath.
The conflict has so-far claimed some 13,000 lives.
Crimea juts into the Black Sea and contains an important Russian naval port with easy access to the Mediterranean.
Ukraine has called for western nations to supply more weapons as it faces the prospect of a years-long conflict with Russian separatists boiling over (file image, Ukrainian tanks)
Washington has warned that Russia is building up forces close to the border in preparation for a possible invasion (file image, Ukrainian troops in the region)
Renewed Western speculation about Russia’s plans in eastern Ukraine have come amid a clash over an unexpected migrant crisis on the border with Kremlin-aligned Belarus and EU member Poland.
The EU has accused the Kremlin-backed regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus of purposefully luring thousands of migrants – mostly from the Middle-East – to its doorstep as revenge for sanctions.
Ukraine accuses Putin of masterminding the scheme directly, as part of a wider strategy to ‘shatter Europe’.
NATO, the EU and US have thrown their weight behind Poland against Belarus, and on Thursday UK defence minister Ben Wallace travelled to a NATO base in Poland to speak with the country’s defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
Mr Blaszczak subsequently announced that British engineers are being deployed to the border to help reinforce the defences.
‘The Polish border is sealed and it will be sealed. Despite hybrid attacks, we will keep Poland safe,’ he said.
‘I would like to thank the British for their commitment, especially in the face of situation on the Polish Belarus border.
‘Polish serve side by side with British soldiers.’
Putin used a speech to Russia’s foreign ministry to call for a de-escalation of military tensions, appealing directly to the EU.
‘Brussels needs to understand that decreasing military-political tensions is not only in Russian interests, but in those of the whole of Europe, even the world,’ he said.
Earlier on Thursday, the Kremlin said Europe should not blame Russia for ‘all problems’.
Tensions are also building on the Polish border with Belarus as the EU accuses dictator Lukashenko – a close ally of Russia – of orchestrating a migrant crisis there
Ukraine believes that Putin has masterminded the crisis as part of efforts to ‘shatter’ Europe
‘Russia has an interest in everybody in Europe finally coming to their senses and stopping considering Russia the culprit of all problems,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He added that Europe should instead ‘address the primary sources of the problems that are currently suffocating Europe’.
Peskov’s remarks come after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday warned Russia against any ‘military adventurism’ on the borders of Ukraine and EU member Poland.
‘Recently there have been a lot of hysterical publications in Britain,’ Peskov said.
‘Russia is not waging any hybrid wars,’ he added.
– Ukraine seeks more Western arms –
Russia had carried out large-scale drills near the Ukraine border and in annexed Crimea in the spring, sparking concerns of a possible invasion.
Kiev, which in recent weeks downplayed the scale of Russia’s presence at its borders, on Thursday said it was seeking more military aid from the West.
Videos circulated recently on social media have shown Russia moving troops, tanks and missiles towards the Ukrainian border.
‘Russia’s aggressiveness, both diplomatic and military, has increased considerably in recent weeks,’ Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a press briefing.
The minister said that after his visits to Washington and Brussels ‘work is under way to develop a comprehensive package for the containment of Russia’.
He added that Kiev is in negotiations with the West for ‘the supply of additional defence weapons for our army’.
Moscow, in turn, has accused Kiev and the West of warmongering.
This week, France’s Macron told Putin that Paris was ready to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity, according to the Elysee.
Published at Sun, 21 Nov 2021 01:50:16 +0000