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Putin Calls NATO Military Presence in Ukraine a Real Threat to Russia

© Sputnik / Go to the mediabankUkraine's National Guard soldiers during combat training developed by NATO at a training ground in the Zolochevsky District, Lviv Region.
Ukraine's National Guard soldiers during combat training developed by NATO at a training ground in the Zolochevsky District, Lviv Region. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.10.2021
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This comes after earlier this week, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that third countries do not have the right to veto Ukraine's accession to NATO, adding that Washington supports Kiev in its aspirations.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that NATO military presence in Ukraine poses a real threat to Russia.
"The military development of the territory [of Ukraine] is already underway, and this really poses a threat to Russia. We are aware of this," Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
"Let's see what will happen on the domestic political scene of Ukraine in the near future," the president concluded.
Putin also said that the Pentagon chief Austin has effectively paved the way for Ukraine to join the alliance.
"The Secretary of Defence has arrived, in fact, opening the doors for Ukraine to NATO, in fact, his statement should and can be interpreted in this way," Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow paid attention to "aggressive Russophobic" statements made during the visit of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to Ukraine. Commenting on the prospects for Ukraine's membership in the alliance, Austin said that third countries do not have the right to veto Ukraine's accession to NATO, while Washington supports Kiev in its aspirations.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that Ukraine's possible NATO entry would be an extremely dangerous step, which would force Moscow to react. The Kremlin has repeatedly said that any expansion of NATO military installations in Ukraine would cross its "red lines".
Ukraine first applied to join a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2008 and has been moving towards its goal to join the alliance since then. NATO leaders have repeatedly said that Ukraine would become a NATO member state as soon as it carries out the requisite domestic reforms to meet certain Euro-Atlantic standards. In 2018, the parliament of Ukraine approved a package of amendments to the constitution, putting the country's membership of NATO and the EU among its key targets for years to come.

Russian President Calls Situation in Ukraine 'Dead End'

Putin called the situation in Ukraine a dead end since the country is not ruled by an elected president, but rather by a small group of people with extreme political views.


"The Ukrainian people are not allowed and will not be allowed to form governing bodies that will directly represent their interests ... Ukraine is realistically ruled by a small group of people who claim to have won the struggle for independence and who hold extreme political views, regardless of who the head of the state is in name," Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
He noted that the leaders that came to power in the country had often relied on the voters from the southeast of the country, but changed their political positions as soon as the elections were over.

"The silent majority voted for them in the hopes that they would fulfil their election promises, but the not so silent, aggressive nationalist minority suppressed their freedom to make decisions expected by the Ukrainian population. They are the ones to truly run the country," Putin said.

The Russian president called the current situation a dead end, adding it will be difficult to find a way out.
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