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Putin's Week: Western Unification in Ukraine in the Face of NATO Enlargement

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

It was not an easy week for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He traveled abroad for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine to strengthen relations with troublesome Central Asian allies. He watched NATO declare Moscow a major enemy and invite Russia's neighbors Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. And he was forced to deny that his army had re-attacked Ukrainian civilian targets.

In response to the Western unification show against Ukraine at this week's series of European summits, Putin sought to cast a move by the United States and its allies as evidence of their hostile design. And he vowed to push the attack on Russia's neighbors, now in the fifth month.

Putin has long described NATO's expansion into the Russian border as the greatest security threat to his country. When he sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, he cited the increasingly close military relationship between Kieu and the West as the main reason behind his actions.

Russia's attack on neighboring countries helped solidify the Western unity. Allies have provided billions of dollars in weapons and aid to Kyiv and have accused Russia of unprecedented sanctions to freeze hard currency reserves, targeted oil and other key experts. I locked the plane out of the European sky. The

invasion also urged NATO to deploy more troops and weapons on the territory of members of Eastern Europe, and encouraged Sweden and Finland to abandon their neutral nations and seek NATO membership.

At the summit in Madrid on Wednesday, the alliance officially invited the two countries to make Russia the "most important and direct threat" to the peace and security of its members. Declared.

Putin, who visited Turkmenistan on Wednesday and attended the Caspian Sea summit with the three former Soviet countries and Iran, proved that NATO's actions were anti-Russian focus, while his actions were Western allies. He said it helped to solidify his position.

At the Ashgabat summit, Putin and other participants did not mention the war in Ukraine in public comments. In a post-meeting communiqué, they emphasized their agreement to ban foreign troops from the Caspian Sea and their pledge not to provide their territory for invasion of other countries on the coast. ..

When meeting with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi by the summit, Putin emphasized the "strategic" relationship between Moscow and Tehran.

President Putin told Turkmenistan reporters that the United States had "long-searched for external enemies in search of threats to help rally allies," and "Iran has taken on that role." It didn't do well, and Russia fits much better. "

" We gave them the opportunity to unite all allies, "Putin said at the NATO summit. The decision said the Western group would provide new evidence that it was "a relic of the Cold War intended to serve as a means." US Foreign Policy to Continue Suppressing Satellites

Before the war, Russia claimed binding guarantees to prevent NATO from expanding to Ukraine and other former Soviet countries, in Eastern Europe. Requested a rollback of the development of the military alliance. The United States and its allies categorically rejected the request, emphasizing that the main alliance principle is that member states are open to eligible countries and that outsiders have no veto power.

At the same time, Washington and NATO proposed to discuss arms control, confidence-building measures, increased transparency and risk reduction.

Until the invasion, the Kremlin denied plans for an attack, but warned the West that NATO's expansion into Ukraine and other former Soviet countries was a "red line" that should not be crossed.

Putin verbally pledged not to expand NATO eastward in the 1990s, and then expanded to incorporate the former Soviet block countries and former Soviet Union in Central and Eastern Europe, thereby westward. Claimed to have "deceived and blatantly deceived" Moscow. Republics of the Baltic states.

On Thursday, he always said about what he said as a Western effort to discourage Ukraine from sitting down in negotiations with Russia to negotiate the end of hostilities. I spoke with a grudge.

"The call to Ukraine to continue the fight and abandon further negotiations is me that the unified Western and NATO do not care about the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It supports our belief. Their goal is to protect their own interests, "Putin said. "Major NATO members are using the people of Ukraine to strengthen their position and role in the world and reaffirm their hegemony and empire ambitions."

With Finland Commenting on NATO's invitation to Sweden, Putin rejected the western explanation of the move as Russia's major defeat.

"For us Finland and Sweden are not participating in NATO on the assumption that we were fighting NATO expansion to Ukraine but now we need to deal with Sweden and Finland. So there is no substance behind it, it's all the same as potential membership in Ukraine, "he said.

He said Sweden and Finland could do whatever they wanted, but "if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there and create the same thing, Quid Proquare needs to be addressed. Threats to the area they were created for us. "

He regained Crimea, which Russia merged in 2014, and the separation supported by eastern Moscow. Unlike Ukraine, which declared its intention to regain control of the territory, Russia said it had no territorial problems with these countries. Known as Donbus.

"Ukraine is a completely different issue," Putin said. "They turned Ukraine into an anti-Russia, a bridgehead to try to destabilize Russia."

He welcomed the army in Ukraine as a "hero" to protect Russia's security. "Special military operations" will continue to the goal of "releasing Donbus, protecting the people and creating conditions to guarantee security." "Russia itself" is achieved.

Putin also denied that Russian troops had targeted a bustling shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, and his country did not attack civilian facilities. , Claimed that the airstrikes were directed nearby. The arsenal reflects the remarks of his military personnel.

However, it was argued by Ukrainian officials and witnesses, with Russian missiles attacking the mall directly, killing at least 18 people, injuring dozens, and missing 20. Said it became. In the early days of the war, Russia struck hospitals, theaters, houses, and fleeting civilian train stations.

President Putin said actions in Ukraine were "on schedule" and "our troops are moving forward and achieving the goals set for a particular period of engagement." He added that he would not hurry. Operation to minimize loss.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines seems to have overcome disappointment because Putin was unable to defeat Ukraine quickly, and Russia decided to crush Ukrainian troops in Donbus. If successful, "basically depressed by Ukrainian resistance, which may give them great opportunities."


Contributed by AP correspondent Eric Tucker in Washington. .. Follow AP's coverage of the Ukrainian War at