Putin blames United States for destabilizing Europe

21 December 2021, 02:54 PM

With more than 100,000 Russian troops massed threateningly close to Ukraine’s border, seemingly poised for invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of escalating tensions in Europe. 

Speaking at Russia’s Defense Ministry on Dec. 21, Putin said he was “was tired of American meddling.”

“They (the United States) are to blame for the tensions we currently see mounting in Europe,” Putin said.

“At every turn we were merely reacting to a constantly deteriorating situation.”

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The Russian president complained that the United States was “overreaching by thousands of kilometers to interfere in other’s affairs.”

Putin’s view of the situation is at stark odds with that seen in Ukraine and the West. Russia, which is waging a covert war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, is in fact the only country using or threatening to use military force against any other country in Europe.

The Kremlin’s war on Ukraine has already claimed some 15,000 Ukrainian lives since its start in April 2014.

Earlier in 2014, Russia invaded and started to occupy Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, using soldiers, dubbed “little green men,” who had removed their Russian insignia from their green army uniforms. The Kremlin then staged a sham referendum in an attempt to legitimize its military occupation of the Ukrainian territory.

“The moment (the United States) is inconvenienced by international law or the Charter of United Nations – those institutions are declared to be outdated and redundant,” Putin said.

“And then once it suits their agenda, they do a U-turn and start quoting the U.N. Charter, international law and human rights to us.”

On Dec. 17, Moscow presented a security wish list to the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, including a demand for guarantees that Ukraine will never become a NATO member – effectively a demand for limited Ukrainian sovereignty.

Responding to these demands, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “any kind of talks with Moscow must be underpinned by the key principles of European security, clearly express our concern with Russia’s behavior, and (they have) to be done in concord with our European partners, namely Ukraine.”

U.S. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has ruled out the possibility of the United States entertaining these demands, or of excluding its European allies from any potential talks with Russia.

On Dec. 7., during a telephone conversation with Putin, U.S. President Joe Biden refused to give assurances that NATO will never expand eastward.

The NATO Bucharest Summit of 2008 officially recognized the membership aspirations of Ukraine and Georgia, creating a path to membership for those two countries. On Dec. 10, Russia’s Foreign Ministry demanded this memorandum be made null and void, claiming that closer Ukraine-NATO ties were escalating tensions in Europe.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has cautioned the West against appeasing Russia by giving in to Kremlin demands.

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