Russian President Vladimir Putin published an article in the Die Zeit German weekly on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the German-Soviet war. The article accuses NATO of aggressive enlargement policy.
“The bloc’s movement towards the east, which began, by the way, with the fact that the Soviet leadership was actually persuaded into the united Germany membership in NATO, was the main reason for the rapid growth of mutual distrust in Europe… A precedent was set. And since 1999, there have been five more waves of NATO enlargement. The organisation has been joined by 14 new countries, including the republics of the former Soviet Union,” the article reads.
In the Russian president’s opinion, many countries have been given an ultimatum: either you are with the West or with Russia. Accordingly, the war in Ukraine was the consequence of such a policy, Putin considers.
“Why did the United States organise a coup and European countries reluctantly support it, provoking a split in Ukraine and the withdrawal of Crimea from its composition?” the article says.
Putin also said that “tensions are rising, the risks of a new arms race are becoming real,” but Russia still seeks to cooperate with Europe with a single space for cooperation and security from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The other day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in her speech dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the USSR.
“Germany, like the entire European Union, considers it unacceptable that Russia, by annexing Crimea and massively supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, violated international law and thus called into question the European post-war order,” the Chancellor said.
At the same time, Merkel mentioned the crackdown on Belarusian and Russian protests, noting that the activity of civil society in these countries has recently “become impossible.”