What is the “red line” Putin is warning NATO not to cross?

Russia: Owen Jones on 'violation of international law'

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Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the West for snubbing his “red-line” warnings as tensions in the Black Sea continue to rise. Is NATO stepping out of line? Express.co.uk analyses President Putin’s grievances against NATO as tensions between the West and the Kremlin continue to escalate.

Relations between NATO and Russia have worsened dramatically since Russia forced NATO to close its military liaison and information offices in Moscow at the start of November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has now accused NATO of “destroying” all means of dialogue between Moscow and the West.

President Vladimir very publicly aired his grievances against the West in a televised speech on November 18.

The Russian President ominously described US-Russian relations as “unsatisfactory,” but he said Moscow remained open to talks with Washington.

In his speech he made clear the one “red line,” he would not allow the West to cross.

He said NATO would overstep a Russian red line if it increased its military presence in Ukraine.

But the Russian President’s response seems at odds with his own actions.

The United States has recently shared worrying intelligence that Russia is building up troops along its border with Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO was monitoring what he called a “large and unusual concentration of Russian forces” near Ukraine’s border.

He added: “It is urgent that Russia shows transparency about this military build-up, de-escalates and reduces tensions.”

Ukraine confirmed these fears as their defence ministry announced in early November that around 92,000 Russian troops were stationed near its border.

Despite this, Moscow has accused NATO and its ally Ukraine of destabilising and aggressive behaviour towards Moscow.

President Putin said the West was flying strategic bombers with “very serious weapons” within 20 kilometres of Russia’s borders.

He said: “We’re constantly voicing our concerns about this, talking about red lines, but we understand our partners – how shall I put it mildly – have a very superficial attitude to all our warnings and talk of red lines.”

President Putin was careful not to mention Ukraine in his speech, but he voiced his concerns about “NATO’s expansion to the east.”

He said: “Even though the relationships between Russia and our Western partners, including the United States, were just unique and these ties were almost at the level of allied relations, our concerns and precautions about NATO’s expansion to the east were absolutely ignored.”

He explained: “And now let us see where the NATO military infrastructure is: it is located right near to our borders while missile defence systems have been deployed in Romania and Poland and they can be easily employed, considering that MK-41 launchers stationed there can operate as strike complexes.

“It is just a matter of several minutes to change the software.”

Russia’s Defence Ministry has also pointed out multinational drills organised by US European Command have been carried out in the Black Sea this month.

On November 21 tensions between Russia and the West were worsened as Dmitry Pesko, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, said: “This hysteria is being artificially whipped up.

“We are being accused of some kind of unusual military activity on our territory by those who have brought in their armed forces from across the ocean. That is the United States of America. It’s not really logical or polite.”

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