West created Ukraine crisis to revive NATO, Putin says

West created Ukraine crisis to revive NATO, Putin says

Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:0PM GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Western counties of trying to “revive” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by creating a crisis in Ukraine.

“The crisis in Ukraine, which was basically provoked and created by some of our Western partners, is now being used to revive this military bloc (NATO),” Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin added that his country has no intention of launching a new arms race but will analyze potential threats and adequately respond to all security challenges.

“We have warned many times that we would have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security,” Putin said, adding that he “would like to underline that we only take retaliatory steps.”

He announced that his country will focus on new strategic nuclear weapons, aerospace defenses and high-precision conventional weapons in the face of recent threats.

“There are a lot of new threats appearing. As you know, not long ago, a decision was taken on building up NATO forces in Eastern Europe,” the Russian president stated.

His comments come a week after a NATO summit decided to create a rapid reaction spearhead force to protect Eastern Europe from what it called “Russian bullying.”

The crisis in Ukraine has plunged relations between Moscow and the West to its lowest level since the Cold War.

Following negotiations in the Belarusian capital Minsk on September 5, Kiev and the pro-Russians inked a Russian-proposed ceasefire pact aimed at putting an end to heavy clashes in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

The truce called for “temporary special status” for the regions currently controlled by the pro-Russian forces.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Russians in mid-April.

Violence intensified in May after the two flashpoint regions of Donetsk and Luhansk held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

Western powers and the Kiev government accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, but Russia denies the accusation.

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