President Vladimir Putin of Russia said this while speaking at the prestigious Valdai Discussion club.
At the Valdai Discussion club in Sochi Russia, Putin told participants at the plenary session that; “Formal membership (of Ukraine) in NATO may not take place, but military development of the territory is already under way and this really poses a threat to Russia. We are aware of that.”
“Wether they did or not this poses a threat to Russia.”
This comes on the heels of the United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Kiev to assure NATO that the United States remains committed to defending Europe. General Austin said in remarks. “We again call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea… to stop perpetuating the war in eastern Ukraine… to end its destabilizing activities in the Black Sea and along Ukraine’s borders… and to halt its persistent cyber attacks and other malign activities against the United States, and our Allies and partners.”
When Lloyd Austin was asked by journalists about Ukraine joining NATO he responded; “I would just point out, no third country has a veto over NATO’s membership decisions. Ukraine, as you heard me say earlier, has a right to decide its own future foreign policy and we expect that they will be able to do that without any outside interference. And finally, I would say that our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty is unwavering and again we will continue to work together with our partners to ensure that the right things are in place to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself.”
Relations between the Western powers and Russia deteriorated since Russia took back its territory of Crimea in March of 2014. Historically, Crimea was part of Russia from 1783, when the Tsarist Empire annexed it a decade after defeating Ottoman forces in the Battle of Kozludzha, as part of treaty provisions between the Ottoman Turks and Tsarist Russia it was Russian until 1954, when the Soviet government transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (UkrSSR). The transfer was announced in the Soviet press in late February 1954, eight days after the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet adopted a resolution authorizing the move on 19 February.
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