Western allies have bolstered their military presence in the eastern European allied states in fear of a Russian threat, yet according to Russian President, Vladimir Putin, NATO has nothing to fear from Russia.
Due to the conflict in Ukraine both Russia and NATO allied countries have ramped up their military presence ever closer to the disputed conflict zone. NATO accuses Russia of backing rebels in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies the claim and accuses NATO of expansion beyond its agreed mandate when the Berlin Wall came down in the late 80’s.
According to a BBC report: “Only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack Nato,” Mr Putin told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The BBC reports:
Early this month, Nato pledged to counter “hybrid warfare” from Russia – which included a mixture of conventional military tactics, subversive campaigns and cyber-warfare that Russia was using in Ukraine.
Three Baltic countries are preparing to ask for a permanent presence of Nato troops on their soil to act as a deterrent to the Russian military.
Six Nato bases are being set up and a 5,000-strong “spearhead” force established.
In his interview with Corriere della Sera, Mr Putin said some countries were “simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia” in order to receive “some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid”.
“There is no need to fear Russia,” Mr Putin said.
“The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you.”
Heavy fighting has erupted in Ukraine this week, focusing on the towns of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, west of rebel-held Donetsk.
The opposing sides have accused each other of shattering February’s Minsk ceasefire, requiring them to withdraw heavy weapons from the frontline.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko told a news conference on Friday that Russia had massed troops on the border and in rebel-held areas “in unprecedented numbers” – but Russia again denied that its military was involved in Ukraine.
Mr Poroshenko said Ukraine has deployed 50,000 troops in the conflict zone to meet the threat.
More than 6,400 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in April 2014, when rebels seized large parts of two eastern regions, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula.
The Ukraine crisis is on the agenda of talks of leaders of the most industrialised group of countries – the G7 – beginning on Sunday, without Russia – usually its eight member.
Thousands of police officers are being deployed near the venue at Schloss Elmau castle, 60 miles (100km) south of Munich.
Demonstrations over policies on climate change, wealth inequality – as well as conflicts in a number of countries – are being organised in the nearby town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. More than 30,000 attended a rally in Munich on Thursday.
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