Sunday, June 7, 2015

Russia not a threat to the West – Putin

Russia President Vladimir Putin has told an Italian newspaper that his country was “not a threat to the West”, and that he was still committed to a Ukraine peace deal despite a fresh flare-up in violence.

“I would like to say – there’s no need to be afraid of Russia,” Putin told Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Saturday, ruling out a major conflict between Russia and NATO member countries.

“The world has changed so much that people in their right mind cannot imagine such a large-scale military conflict today.”

His comments come as three Baltic countries prepare to ask for a permanent presence of NATO troops as a deterrent to the Russian military. Nato says Russia is backing rebels in Ukraine – which Moscow still denies.

“Only a sick person – and even then only in his sleep – can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO,” Putin said.

The Russian president spoke ahead of his visit to Italy next week that will include a meeting with Pope Francis.

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