NATO took steps affecting Russia’s security before Moscow’s operation in Ukraine – Kremlin

WASHINGTON, March 29. /TASS/. NATO had taken steps affecting Russia’s security interests before Moscow launched a special military operation in Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told PBS.

“The situation is quite concerning,” he said, when commenting on NATO’s movement towards Russia’s borders. “But we’re wise enough to understand that, previously, before, prior to the operation, NATO was doing the same, but with a smile on its face and gradually. We’re deeply convinced that the NATO machine is not a machine of cooperation and not a machine of security. It’s a machine of confrontation,” the Russian presidential spokesman stressed.

“You have to understand Russia. What was the reason for starting the operation [in Ukraine]? For a couple of decades, we were telling the collective West that ‘we are afraid of NATO moving eastwards, we are afraid of NATO getting closer to our borders with its military infrastructure, please take care of that, don’t push us into the corner’,” Peskov noted. “Then we said: ‘Listen, guys, we are not happy with this coup in Ukraine. And you have guarantees by Poland, by France and by Germany, you would probably remember the document with the signatures of the relevant foreign ministers.’ No reaction. Then we said: ‘Listen, guys, we’re not happy with the possibility of Ukraine getting into NATO because it will endanger us additionally and it will ruin the balance of mutual deterrence in Europe.’ No reaction,” Peskov added.

“Then we said: ‘Listen, guys, we want an equal relationship. We want to take into account each other’s concerns. If you don’t [take] into account our concerns, then we will be a little bit nervous.’ No reaction completely,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

Russia has no plans to attack any NATO country, Peskov told PBS.

When asked if he could imagine a situation where Russia would feel it necessary to bomb or send forces into a NATO country during the conflict in Ukraine, Peskov said: “If it’s not a reciprocal act, if they don’t make us do that, we cannot think about that and we do not want to think about that.”

No one in Russia is considering the idea of using nuclear weapons, Peskov told.

The interviewer asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin had suggested in his earlier statement that he would use nuclear weapons if a third party got involved in the conflict in Ukraine and Peskov said ‘no.’ “I don’t think so. But he was quite bold in saying ‘do not interfere, if you do, we have all the possibilities to prevent that and to punish all those who are going to interfere,” he specified.

When asked if he could rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the conflict on behalf of Russia, the Kremlin spokesman said: “No one is thinking about using… even about the idea of using nuclear weapons.”

According to Peskov, Russia has “no doubt that all the objectives of our special military operation in Ukraine will be completed.” “But any outcome of the operation, of course, is not a reason for the usage of a nuclear weapon,” he noted. “We have a security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat for the existence of the state in our country, we can use and we will actually use nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat for the existence of our country,” the Kremlin spokesman explained. “Let’s keep these two things separate, the existence of the state and the special military operation in Ukraine. They have nothing to do with each other,” Peskov emphasized.