West taking Russia's 'red lines' too lightly, says Putin

MOSCOW • President Vladimir Putin said the West was taking Russia's warnings not to cross its "red lines" too lightly and that Moscow needed serious security guarantees from the West.

In a wide-ranging foreign policy speech, the Kremlin leader on Thursday also described relations with the United States as "unsatisfactory" but said Russia remained open to dialogue with Washington.

The Kremlin said in September that Nato would overstep a Russian red line if it expanded its military infrastructure in Ukraine, and Moscow has since accused Ukraine and the military alliance of destabilising behaviour, including in the Black Sea.

In the televised speech, Mr Putin complained that Western strategic bombers carrying "very serious weapons" were flying within 20km of Russia's borders.

"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," he said.

Nato - with which Moscow severed ties last month - had destroyed all mechanisms for dialogue, he said.

He told foreign ministry officials that Russia needed to seek long-term guarantees of its security from the West, though he said this would be difficult and did not spell out what form the assurances should take.

Russia's relations with the West have been at post-Cold War lows for years, but the tone has sharpened in recent weeks as Ukraine and Nato countries raised fears over Russian troop movements near Ukraine's borders and tried to guess Moscow's real intentions.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2021, with the headline 'West taking Russia's 'red lines' too lightly, says Putin'. Subscribe