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Putin calls statements about Moscow's alleged plans for war with Europe, NATO 'nonsense'

Putin calls statements about Moscow's alleged plans for war with Europe, NATO 'nonsense'

 
- Russian president argues that conflict between Russia and Ukraine would not exist if Moscow's security interests were taken into account
 

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Russian President Vladimir Putin labeled as "nonsense" and "crap" the idea that Russia intends to attack Europe and NATO after Ukraine.

Speaking on Wednesday at a meeting with military pilots in the city of Torzhok in the Tver region north of Moscow, Putin said Western politicians "intimidate" their population with an imaginary Russian threat to get more money for the conflict in Ukraine.

He pointed out that around 40% of global military spending falls on the United States and Russia 3.5%.

“Are we, having this disparity (of defense costs), going to fight with NATO or something? This is just crap!

"What they say about us going to attack Europe after Ukraine is complete nonsense, intimidating their own population, solely with the purpose to beat money out of them, out of their people," he stressed.

Putin emphasized that Russia has no aggressive intentions, and "it would never have started fighting in Ukraine if there had not been a coup d’état followed by military action in the Donbas."

After eight years of "deception" with the Minsk agreements, Russia was "simply forced to switch to another form of protection of its interests," he said.

"The war in Ukraine was unleashed in 2014....Still we agreed to sign the Minsk agreements (aimed at ending the conflict). It turns out we were deceived. For eight years, they had been delaying (the implementation) and finally forced us to transit to a different form of protecting our interests and people," he said.

Today's conflict between Russia and Ukraine would not exist if Moscow's security interests were taken into account after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he argued.

"We didn't touch anyone! They were moving towards us. Have we crossed the ocean to the borders of the United States? No!" he stressed.

Turning to the deliveries of US F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Putin said if they are used against Russia from aerodromes in third countries, they will be a "legitimate target."

He also said that representatives of all faiths and all peoples of Russia are showing their best on the battlefield today.

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