In a video of a conference that was uploaded to the Russia Insight YouTube channel on December 23, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked by Sky News reporter Diana Magnay about whether he guarantees that Russia will not invade Ukraine, or if that is dependent on how negotiations go. Putin answered that Russia's future actions will depend entirely on whether Russia's security is guaranteed unconditionally, and he stressed that Russian security is the most important issue in question and that the eastward expansion of NATO is unacceptable to Russia. He elaborated that Russia is not placing its missile on the border between America and Canada, but that this is exactly what the U.S. is doing to Russia in Ukraine. Putin said that since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia's concerns have been disregarded and NATO has expanded eastward despite promises that this would not happen. He also said that this is part of an attempt to further divide Russia, because the dissolution of the USSR was "not enough" for the United States. Putin also asked how the U.S. would react if it were in Russia' position.
To view the clip of President Vladimir Putin on MEMRI TV, click here or below.
"It Was The United States That Came To Our Home With Their Missiles... Is This Some Kind Of Excessive Demand — Not To Put Any More Offensive Systems In Front Of Our House?"
Sky News reporter Diana Magnay: "You have talked a lot about security guarantees. Now we've seen your proposals. You also say you have no intention of invading Ukraine. So, will you guarantee, unconditionally, that you will not invade Ukraine or any other sovereign country, or does that depend on how negotiations go? And another question. What is it that you think the West does not understand about Russia or about your intentions?"
Vladimir Putin: "Our actions will depend not on the course of the negotiations, but on the unconditional provision of Russia's security today and in the future. In this regard, we have made it very clear that NATO's further eastward expansion is unacceptable. What is incomprehensible here? Are we placing missiles near the borders of the Unites States? No. It was the United States that came to our home with their missiles, they are already in front of our home. Is this some kind of excessive demand — not to put any more offensive systems in front of our house? What is so unusual here?
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"How would Americans react if we put our missiles on the border between Canada and the US or put our missiles on the border of Mexico and the United States? And did Mexico and the United States never have territorial issues? And to whom California belonged before? What about Texas? Have you forgotten or what? Okay, everything has calmed down, no one remembers it – the way they remember about Crimea today. Wonderful. But we also try not to remember how Ukraine was created. Who created it? Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, when he created the Soviet Union: the Union Treaty of 1922, and in 1924 – the Constitution. True, the constitution was after his death, but they were created according to his principles.
"[NATO] Said: We Will Not Expand; And They Are Expanding"
“But the issue is security now – God bless history – it's the issue of security. Therefore, it is not the course of the negotiations that is important to us – the results are important to us. Don't we know, I've already said this many times, and you probably know well: not a single inch to the east, -- they told us in the 90s. So what happened? They cheated. They just blatantly deceived us: five waves of NATO enlargement, and now, in Romania and in Poland there are corresponding missile systems. This is what is all about, you should understand, in the end. We are not threatening anyone. Did we come there, to the borders of the United States? Or to the borders of the UK, or somewhere else?
“They came to us and now they are saying: no, Ukraine will also join NATO. This means that there will be missile systems there as well. Or there will be bases and strike weapons systems on a bilateral basis with Ukraine. That's what we're talking about. And you demand some kind of guarantee from me. You must give us a guarantee – you! And that is immediately, now! And not to chat about it for decades and not under a soft talk about the need to ensure safety for everyone, they keep doing what they planned to do. That's what we're talking about. You know what, what they understand, what they don't understand. Sometimes it seems to me that we live in a different world. I just told you the obvious – how can you not understand it? They said: we will not expand. And they are expanding.
“They said: there will be equal guarantees for everyone under a number of international agreements. And this equal security does not happen. Look back in 1918, one of the aides of Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, said: 'The whole world will be calmer if instead of today's huge Russia and independent state appears in Siberia and four more states in the European part. In 1991, we divided ourselves into 12, I think, parts, right? But the impression is that this is not good enough for our partners: Russia is too big, in their opinion, today, because the European countries themselves have turned into small states – not great empires, but into small states, 60-80 million people. But even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, where we only have 146 million left now, even this is too much for them. It seems to me that only this can explain such constant pressure on Russia.
In The 90's "Russia Did Everything To Build Normal Relations With The West And The USA," But They Ignored Our Concerns And Attempted To "Further Russian Collapse"
“Here are the 90s: Russia did everything to build normal relations with the West and the USA. I said it and I will repeat it again, let your listeners and viewers see it – I no longer remember which media outlet you are from, but it doesn't matter – they were at our nuclear cycle and military cycle facilities, representatives of the American services they worked at the facilities of the Russia nuclear weapons complex – every day, they lived there. Numerous advisers worked in the Russian government, including staff members of the CIA. What did you want even more than this? Why was it necessary to support terrorists in the North Caucasus and use obviously terrorist organizations to try to break up the Russia Federation? But they did it, and as a former director of the FSB, I know this for sure: we worked with the double agents, they reported to us what tasks the Western special services set for them. But why did they do it?
“On the contrary, it was necessary to treat Russia as a possible ally to strengthen it. No, the opposite is true: it is an attempt as further Russian collapse. And then they began to expand NATO eastward. Naturally, we said: don't do this, you promised us not to do it. And we were told: Where is that written on a piece of paper? There is no? Well, that's it, go further, we spit on your concerns. And this is so from year to year. Each time we snapped back, tried to prevent something, expressed our concerns, they said no. No – don't bother us with your concerns, we will do what we think is necessary. One, two, three, four, five – five NATO expansion waves. So what do they not understand about us? I do not know. You may ask what is incomprehensible here. It seems to me that everything is clear: we want to ensure our safety.”