"At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw for the first time since 1989, Russia was recognized as the key security threat for the alliance, and its deterrence was officially proclaimed the new NATO mission. To this end, a further enlargement of the bloc is conducted. It was previously conducted too, but now it seems to them they found a more serious substantiation," Putin said.
According to Putin, NATO uses an alleged threat of Russian aggression as a justification for eastward expansion.
Several countries are actively negotiating NATO's accession, including Montenegro, Georgia and Ukraine, among others.
Since 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union and the United States, deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia on the pretext of its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia has imposed a food embargo on some products originating in countries that have targeted it with sanctions.
Since then, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, particularly in eastern European countries bordering Russia, using Moscow's alleged interference in Ukraine as a pretext.