By Dylan Housman
Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to take war with Ukraine off the table and accused the United States of brainwashing Ukrainians in a Thursday press conference.
Putin accused NATO of instigating conflict by building up troops and weapons near Russia’s borders at an annual news conference lasting more than four hours Thursday. He also described the addition of Ukraine to NATO as “unacceptable.”
Amid fears Russia will invade Ukraine, Putin points finger at U.S. and NATO in marathon news conference https://t.co/k1kK4kEYtU
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 23, 2021
“We have clearly and precisely let them know that any further NATO expansion eastward is unacceptable,” he said. Putin’s government submitted security documents last week demanding that NATO deny membership to Ukraine, according to The Associated Press. Current Ukrainian leadership has repeatedly stressed the importance of implementing a NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step to becoming a member of the alliance.
“Is it us who are putting missiles near the U.S. borders?” Putin went on to say. “No, it’s the U.S. who came to our home with their missiles. They are already on the threshold of our home. Is it some excessive demand not to place any offensive systems near our home?”
“How the Americans would respond if we put our missiles on the U.S. borders with Canada or Mexico?”
When asked if he could guarantee that Russia will not invade Ukraine, Putin instead demanded guarantees from the West: “It’s you who must give us guarantees and give them immediately, now, and not have idle talk about it for decades.”
He then accused the West of trying to brainwash Ukrainians and turn them against Russia. He said the West wanted to make Ukraine “anti-Russia, constantly beefed up with modern weapons and brainwashing the population.” (RELATED: Top Ukrainian Military Adviser Reportedly Floats Arming Citizens If Russia Gets Too Close)
Some American lawmakers have called on the Biden administration to send troops to Ukraine to help deter a potential Russian invasion, but President Joe Biden has said sending troops is not on the table.