Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Tuesday that Russia is ready to take military measures in response to the “unfriendly” actions taken by the West against the conflict in Ukraine, and his rhetoric has escalated sharply.
He also called for “serious negotiations” on Russian security demands put to the United States and NATO during his first call with new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who in turn called for “de-escalation”.
The Russian president has for weeks accused the United States and the Washington-led NATO military alliance of stoking tensions near Moscow s borders, but these were his first comments hinting at potential conflict.
Putin told Defense Ministry officials that if the West continues its “obviously aggressive stance,” Russia will take “appropriate retaliatory military technical measures.”
Russia “will react toughly to unfriendly steps”, he said, adding that he wanted to underscore that “we have every right to do so”.
The United States has been sounding the alarm since mid-November that Moscow could be planning a large-scale attack on its ex-Soviet neighbour Ukraine and has warned Putin of unprecedented sanctions.
Western governments have accused Moscow of amassing some 100,000 troops near its border with eastern Ukraine, where Kiev has been fighting pro-Russia separatists since 2014.