Putin announced that Russia must intensify its battle preparations as a reply to NATO’s “aggressive actions” close to Russia’s borders.
Addressing parliament on the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, Putin berated the West for being unwilling to build “a modern, non-bloc collective security system” with Russia.
“Russia is open to discuss this crucial issue and has more than once shown its readiness for dialogue,” he said. “But, just as it happened on the eve of World War Two, we do not see a positive reaction in response.”
“On the contrary, NATO is strengthening its aggressive rhetoric and its aggressive actions near our borders. In these conditions, we are duty-bound to pay special attention to solving the task of strengthening the combat readiness of our country.”
The U.S.-led military alliance is increasing its defenses in Poland and the three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as part of a wider deterrent that it hopes will discourage Russia from any repetition of its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014.
Russia sees NATO’s deterrence plans as hostile.