Putin: Ukraine Is to Russia What Cuba Was to America in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
By the way, the threat on our western border [he was referring mainly to Ukraine] is really growing, and we have mentioned it many times. It is enough to see how close NATO military infrastructure has moved to Russia’s borders. This is more than serious for us. [He meant that it is an existential threat against Russia, just as the Soviet Union’s placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba would have been an existential threat to America in 1963. But he always tries to be non-alarmist, because his real audience regarding such matters is the people who control U.S. foreign policies, and he doesn’t want to draw the public’s attention to matters of existential consequence between the superpowers.]In this situation, we are taking appropriate military-technical measures. But, I repeat, we are not threatening anyone and it is at the very least irresponsible to accuse us of this, given the real state of affairs. This would mean laying the blame at the wrong door, as the Russian saying goes.In my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs I already stressed that the priority facing Russian diplomacy at this juncture is to try to ensure that Russia is granted reliable and long-term security guarantees.While engaging in dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on the elaboration of concrete agreements that would rule out any further eastward expansion of NATO and the deployment of weapons systems posing a threat to us in close proximity to Russia’s territory. We suggest that substantive talks on this topic should be started.I would like to note in particular that we need precisely legal, juridical guarantees, because our Western colleagues have failed to deliver on verbal commitments they made. Specifically, everyone is aware of the assurances they gave verbally that NATO would not expand to the east. But they did absolutely the opposite in reality. In effect, Russia’s legitimate security concerns were ignored and they continue to be ignored in the same manner even now.We are not demanding any special terms for ourselves. We understand that any agreements must take into account the interests of both Russia and all other states in the Euro-Atlantic region. A calm and stable situation should be ensured for everyone and is needed by all without exception.That said, I would like to stress that Russia is interested precisely in constructive collaboration and in equitable international cooperation, and this remains the central tenet of Russian foreign policy. I hope that you will convey this signal to the leaders of your states.
“The Russians have never actually set out their position on NATO’s eastward expansion in this way. They have never previously, at any point since the end of the Cold War [on Russia’s side — America never left the Cold War], or even, by the way during the Cold War, said that they now insist that there is to be, in effect, an international treaty which will limit the expansion of NATO eastward and which will reduce NATO military forces in areas close to Russia’s borders. The fact that Putin is talking in this way is a sign of growing Russian confidence. … (18:35) For the first time, since the end of the Cold War [on Russia’s side], it is the Russians who are now making demands of The West [the U.S. regime and its satellite states or colonies — ‘allies’]. They are saying that they now want legal guarantees that NATO’s expansion eastward [i.e., closer to Russia’s border] must stop. What they are saying is that they will not tolerate NATO expansion into places like Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and the rest, and that they insist that there must be a treaty agreed by the Western powers, that that will not happen. They also want some form of treaty which will restrict the deployment of Western military systems close to Russia’s borders. The Russians have never made this sort of demand before, but they are making it now. … It speaks of a major belief in Russian self-confidence. … Putin, in that speech which he made, at the Russian Foreign Ministry — a speech which, to my mind is going to become one of the most important speeches of the Cold War era — is going to become gradually understood to mark a fundamental break in Russian foreign policy. … until the point is finally reached, when the NATO powers, the Western powers, finally accept that the Russians have fundamental security interests in Eastern Europe, and negotiate in earnest to acknowledge those [as Khrushchev did with JFK in October 1963 regarding Cuba]. … It may take five years, it might take ten years; it might take even longer than that. But in time that negotiation … will take place, and an agreement will be reached; or, alternatively, there will be something far more dramatic.”
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