NATO expansion in Ukraine a ‘red line’ for Putin, Kremlin says
The Kremlin on Monday said any expansion of NATO military infrastructure into Ukraine would cross Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “red lines.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Putin, also agreed to take action alongside Russia to combat NATO’s potential expansion, according to Reuters.
“Ukraine-related issues require special attention. You can see that NATO troops are being dragged there. The United States is establishing bases in Ukraine. Clearly, we need to respond to that,” Lukashenko said to a Russian news agency BelTA, according to Tass.
“Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities don’t care a bit about their own people and they don’t hear our concerns,” Lukashenko also said.
The Kremlin said that its joint actions with Belarus would “ensure the security of the two of our states,” adding that Putin “repeatedly” said NATO infrastructure in Ukraine “would cross those red lines that he has spoken about before,” according to Reuters.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected this idea in a tweet, saying Putin’s red lines could not reach beyond Russia’s borders.
Putin’s “red lines” are limited to Russia’s borders. On our side of the Ukrainian-Russian border we can figure out ourselves what to do in the interests of the Ukrainian people, as well as Ukraine’s and Europe’s security.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) September 27, 2021
Last week, Ukraine conducted military exercises with U.S. and other NATO forces after Russia and Belarus hosted “large-scale drills” perceived as threatening by Western countries, Reuters said.
Russia has also unnerved Ukraine and Western countries by building up a military presence near its border with Ukraine.
Ukraine is not a NATO member, and Russia is vehemently opposed to the prospect of its future membership.