Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries not to cross the “red line” in relations with Moscow.
“Well, there are certain limits, understand that the ‘red line’ should not be crossed. Respect our interests as well,” said the president on Saturday during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2018.
According to Putin, NATO’s enlargement could pose a threat to Russia. The Russian president stated that this situation arose in Ukraine after the coup.
“In addition to the fact that NATO has approached our borders, we suspect that tomorrow Ukraine will also be included [in the Alliance] and place radars and anti-missile defense systems,” said the Russian leader. Putin has made it clear that such an alliance is unworkable, and herein lies the ‘red line’.
The Russian president also recalled the role of some Western countries in the coup in Ukraine. He asked why Western countries contributed to the change of power with the use of force, when Ukraine already had “pro-Western” politicians like Yulia Timoshenko or Viktor Yushchenko.
On February 22nd a coup took place in Ukraine. Subsequently, Kiev announced its intention to join NATO and the EU. However, both organizations greatly doubt the capacity of Ukraine to be a member state. They simply push a policy in the negative, to keep Ukraine at odds with Russia, even though there is no realistic place for Ukraine in the EU. Russia will not tolerate Ukraine as a NATO member state, and Ukraine will be the guarantor of its own economic isolation from Russia should it test this proposition too heavily.
Russia has proven to act when it is threatened by aggressor states, such as the 2008 intervention in South Ossetia when NATO-backed Georgia decides to attack Russian citizens in the South Ossetia region. It has also proven to act to defend the Russian-majority in Crimea when the Ukrainian regime decided to take aggressive steps against the community.
In addition, Russia has played a key role in defeating US-backed terrorist groups in Syria that have directly threatened to attack Russia as well, especially as thousands of Russians and former Soviet citizens flocked in Syria to wage a jihad. Russia intervened in Syria in September 2015. Since then terrorist forces have been on a decline and control very few areas of Syria now.