Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused NATO of constantly trying to provoke Russia in an attempt to draw them into a confrontation.
He also said that members of the alliance continue to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs.
The accusations came as Putin addressed senior members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB on Thursday. The president said that over the past years the global security situation “has not improved, but on the contrary, many existing threats have only become more serious.”
NATO with its “newly-declared official mission to deter Russia” is one such threat, Putin said.
“This is the goal behind the expansion of this military bloc. It happened before, but now they have found a new justification which they believe to be serious,” Putin said.
“In fact, they are constantly provoking us, trying to drag us into a confrontation,” Putin stated, adding that NATO members “are continuing their efforts to interfere in our domestic affairs with the goal of destabilizing social and political order in Russia proper.”
Putin added that foreign intelligence agencies continue intensive operations in Russia.
“In the past year 53 foreign intelligence operatives and 386 agents of foreign intelligence services have been busted,” he said.
The president also expressed regret over Russia and Western nations no longer coordinating efforts to fight against common enemies such as terrorist groups.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to resume dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the United States and other members of NATO,” Putin said