On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned NATO that sending troops and weapons to Ukraine would cross a “red line” for Moscow.
Addressing an online investment forum, Putin said he was concerned that NATO’s eastward expansion could result in the alliance placing missiles in Ukraine that could target Russia.
“The emergence of such threats represents a ‘red line’ for us,” Putin said. “I hope that it will not get to that and common sense and responsibility for their own countries and the global community will eventually prevail.”
Putin’s warning came as the NATO officials met in Riga, Latvia, to discuss a potential response to Russia’s alleged troop build-up near Ukraine. The US has claimed Russia is planning to invade Ukraine, but Moscow strongly denies the accusation.
Russia has pointed to the increase in US and NATO activity as the source of tensions in the region. Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that NATO was deploying a “significant” amount of military hardware near Russia’s borders and warned Moscow could respond to security threats from the Western nations.
Ukraine and other regional countries are calling for more of a NATO presence. Last week, Ukraine’s prime minister said there should be a “constant” NATO presence in the Black Sea to counter Russia, and Poland called for more troops to be deployed to the Baltic States.