Russia 'has no veto over decisions of NATO' says Smith
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President Vladimir Putin has massed troops in place along the Ukrainian border causing tensions to rise with other global senior state officials. President Joe Biden and Putin are expected to have a video call on Tuesday to discuss US allies, Western forces, and NATO. Putin is expected to drop an ultimatum on President Biden to not consider plans for Kiev to join NATO in exchange for a de-escalation of pressure on the Eastern European nation.
Channel 4 News host Jon Snow questioned US NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith to ask her how the phone call between President Biden and President Putin would likely go.
Ms Smith said: “Well, I think Russia has made several accusations about the NATO alliance that are unfounded.
“Russia has complained that NATO is encircling it, nothing could be further from the truth NATO is a defensive alliance, and its door remains open.
“The decision on whether or not it would add future members is a decision that will be taken by the 30 members of the alliance and the country in question.
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“Russia does not have a veto over that type of decision.”
Last week, President Putin was asked about Russia’s state lines when it came to Ukraine’s border when he spoke at an investment conference conducted by VTB Capital investment.
Putin said: “probably be threats emanating from that territory Ukraine if they station and deploy attack systems on Ukrainian soil the flight time to Moscow would be five to seven minutes.
“And we would have to respond with something similar, against those who are menacing us and we can do that, we’re capable.
“The Russian Federation is concerned to an extent over major military exercises carried out near its borders, including in the Black Sea.”
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President Putin added: “Just recently, when strategic bombers were flying just 20 kilometres away from our border, armed with precision weapons and potentially even nuclear weapons, definitely we would regard that as a threat to us.”
With such important critical talks underway, many MPs and state officials were hoping to listen in or watch via live stream but Russian state news agency Tass confirmed that would not be possible.
A Tass spokesperson said: “There will be no live broadcast. I think we will show the very beginning of the meeting.
“The very beginning will be broadcast, the entire meeting will be held behind closed doors.”
Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg warned NATO members to prepare for the worst with Ukraine and Russia.
Jens Stoltenberg said: “You can discuss whether the likelihood for an incursion is 20 percent or 80 percent, it doesn’t matter. We need to be prepared for the worst.
“There is no certainty, no clarity about exactly what are the Russian intentions, and they may actually evolve and change.
“We need to convey a message to Russia that they should not conduct a military incursion into Ukraine.”
He added: “They have done it before. They continue to support the separatists in Donbass and we should deter, send the message.
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