In comments that got past editors in the Western news media, President Vladimir Putin in a recent Russian television interview accused the West of abusing what were good relations at the time (1999-2004) to expand NATO up to Russia’s borders. And in doing so, he specified, violated verbal pledges made by American officials to then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, adding that the latter is alive and in good health and can confirm what he was told. In a candid assessment of the matter, Putin added, “I do not want to use harsh words, but they simply spat upon our interests and that’s that.”
Lengthy excerpts of his comments were published on the English-language site of the government news agency TASS on June 9.
The most significant, and most alarming, aspect of the interview is the Russian president’s warning of Ukraine joining NATO, which contrary to what he acknowledged is a dismissal of that prospect by many experts in Russia and in the West he takes seriously, especially in regard to its membership providing the U.S. and NATO with new missile sites.
Without naming them he mentioned that Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) missile defense (so-called) interceptors in Romania and Poland could strike Moscow in 15 minutes if a warhead was added to them; which, although the West denies its intent to do so, could be easily done. Russia has not been invited to inspect the missiles, for example. Paraphrasing the head of state, the TASS report disclosed the above threat is eminently practicable “because the missile defense launch systems stationed there can be used to carry out strikes as well.”
Installing SM-3s in Ukraine, Putin warned, would reduce the time needed to strike Moscow to 7-10 minutes. “Is it a red line for us or not?” he asked….
Zelensky Claims NATO “Confirmed” Ukraine Will Become Full Member
Coming off Monday’s meeting of top NATO leaders in Brussels with Joe Biden, President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a shock statement, claiming that NATO has “agreed” to admit Ukraine into the military alliance with Biden’s blessing.
However, in simultaneous remarks given during Biden’s anticipated press conference, the president actually appeared to suggest nothing has really change. He said Ukraine has more it must do to meet the “criteria” for NATO membership. “It depends on whether they meet the criteria,” Biden told reporters. “The fact is, they still have to clean up corruption… School’s out on that question.“…