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NATO-Russia Relations Near Red Line Due to Alliance's Military Support of Ukraine, Peskov Tells CNN

© Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky / Go to the mediabankRussia-NATO council in Brussels, Belgium
Russia-NATO council in Brussels, Belgium - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.01.2022
The Kremlin spokesman's interview with CNN comes several days after talks in Geneva between Russia and the US - along with Russia-NATO talks - over tensions in Ukraine ended.
Relations between Russia and NATO are nearing the red line because of the military support the alliance is giving to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN on Sunday.
Peskov also told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Moscow considers it necessary to keep troops near the border with Ukraine because of "a very tense situation and very unfriendly environment."
According to the Kremlin spokesman, Russia "cannot put up" with NATO "gradually making its way" into Ukraine.
"We have seen NATO gradually invade Ukrainian territory with its infrastructure, its instructors, supplies of defensive and offensive weapons, teaching the Ukrainian military and so forth. That has brought us to the red line, a situation which we couldn’t tolerate anymore," he said.
Peskov again stressed the need for putting security guarantees on paper because spoken promises did not stop NATO from moving into post-Soviet space.
"When Germany was reunited and when the then-Soviet Union and the Soviet Union leader, Gorbachev, said ok to that, there was a promise by the American side. Unfortunately, it was not fixed in a legally binding guarantee document. But there was a guarantee that NATO would never expand its military infrastructure or political infrastructure eastwards," he said.
The Kremlin's spokesman stressed that although Russia is not threatening military reprisals, it will have to take countermeasures if NATO persists in its expansion. Regarding the threat of western sanctions, Peskov said Russia is big and self-sufficient enough not to be worried about them.
"We've gotten used to living under American sanctions. And, to some extent, we're trying to take advantage of them, in terms of developing our domestic economy, our domestic production, compensating deficit of certain import parts and elements by producing our own. It gives a boost to our national economy," he explained.
At the same time, the Kremlin spokesman said that the restrictions proposed by the US, which include personal sanctions against the leadership of Russia among other things, could "lead to the discontinuation of any relationship by our two countries."
He also noted he believes that the "political wisdom" of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden is a good place to carry on the search for common ground.
When pressed by Zakaria on whether there are any Russian troops on the Ukrainian territory, Peskov underlined that there are no Russian forces either in Donbas or in other parts of Ukraine, with them being located exclusively on Russian territory.

Security Talks

On 10 January, the Russian delegation held a round of security talks with US counterparts, to discuss the tensions in Ukraine. The negotiations were followed by a meeting on the same subject between Russia and representatives from NATO.
Despite the failure to reach an immediate consensus, all parties voiced readiness for further talks.
Moscow said it awaits a response from Washington in regard to the security proposals rolled out earlier in December, which include a demand for NATO not to expand eastwards and not to deploy offensive weapons in the countries neighbouring Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in the briefing room of the State Department in Washington, U.S. January 7, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.01.2022
Blinken, Borrell Vow to Present 'United Transatlantic Front' After Russia Talks
The US State Department said it is ready to continue diplomatic efforts, asserting that the US and NATO "are united on the diplomatic path forward and urge Russia to take immediate action to de-escalate its ongoing aggression against Ukraine."
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