NATO says Russian warnings against allies "unacceptable"

22:30, 02 March 2018
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REUTERS

In his address to the nation on Thursday, Putin that any attack on Moscow’s allies would be regarded as an attack on Russia itself and draw an immediate response, according to Reuters.

While it was unclear which ally Putin had in mind, the U.S.-led NATO said the speech, one of the Russian leader’s most bellicose in years, did not help calm tensions that have surged since Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea four years ago.

“Russian statements threatening to target allies are unacceptable and counterproductive,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in a statement.

Read alsoPutin announces successful testing of brand new nuclear-powered missileThe Crimea crisis has given NATO a new sense of purpose, but the alliance insists its new deterrents in the Baltics and Poland are defensive.

“We do not want a new Cold War or a new arms race,” Lungescu said. “All allies support arms control agreements which build trust and confidence, for everyone’s benefit.”

One particular sore point for Moscow is NATO’s U.S.-built missile defense umbrella across Spain, Poland and Romania, which the alliance says is designed to shoot down Iranian rockets.

“As we have repeatedly made clear, the alliance’s missile defense is neither designed nor directed against Russia. Our system defends against ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic area,” Lungescu said, in reference to the Middle East and further afield.

“NATO is pursuing a twin-track approach to Russia: strong deterrence and defense, combined with meaningful dialogue. We are committed to delivering on both tracks,” Lungescu said.

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