In the 1990s, NATO promised Russia that the US-led military bloc would not move “an inch to the east,” but this turned out to be a “vehement” and “blatant”lie, Russia's President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists at his annual end-of-year press conference, the President claimed that Russia was cheated by the West, which broke its verbal agreements not to admit former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact countries into NATO following the fall of the USSR.“Now look at what happened. They cheated us. Vehemently. Blatantly. NATO is expanding. They’re in Poland. They have offensive weapons there. That’s what I’m talking about,” Putin explained.
“Now they’re saying that they will have Ukraine as well. This means they will deploy their weapons there, even if it's not officially part of NATO."
According to the President, it is now up to the US-led bloc to come up with guarantees for Russia “immediately,” instead of continuously talking about it “for decades.”
Putin also slammed the West for years of attempting to undermine and break up his country, stating that NATO countries should have instead “treated Russia as an ally” and “tried to strengthen Russia.”
The President’s statement comes less than a week after Moscow pitched a list of proposals to America and the US-led NATO military bloc in the form of two draft treaties. The documents are made up of a list of security guarantees, including a demand that NATO won’t expand eastwards into states that were formerly a part of the USSR.
If signed, it would also see troop movements near the Russian border become limited, and would prevent missiles from being placed near the frontier.