‘NATO Expansionism Left Putin No Option But To Launch Military Action Against Ukraine!’

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Fighters of the pro-Russia Donetsk People’s Republic

A Moscow-based American political analyst says NATO’s expansionist policy and its disregard for Russia’s security concerns left President Vladimir Putin with no option but to launch military action against Ukraine.

Putin had to act when Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, which had been put forth with the aim of resolving the conflict diplomatically, were ignored by the United States and its NATO allies, Andrew Korybko told Press TV on Saturday.

Korybko noted that Putin had repeatedly warned against NATO’s hostile moves, inducing the deployment of anti-missile systems and strike weapons near the Russian borders. However, military action was ultimately the only option left for the Russian leader to safeguard Russia’s national security red lines, the analyst added.

The military operation, as Putin laid out in his remarks on Thursday, was also an attempt to eliminate neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, who still literally glorify their ancestors for collaborating with Nazi Germany in its genocide against Jews, Poles, Russians, and others, the analyst pointed out.

‘What I think is important to emphasise further is that the leading NATO countries, in order to achieve their own goals, support extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, who, in turn, will never forgive the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents for choosing reunification with Russia,’ Putin said on February 24.

In 2014, Ukraine’s two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk – collectively known as the Donbass – were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians, leading to a bloody conflict between the government forces and the armed separatists.

Russia’s president says he had no other choice than launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Ukraine, as well as the European Union and the United States, claims that Russia has a hand in the conflict that erupted in the Donbass and has so far killed more than 14,000 people. Moscow denies the allegation.

The armed conflict began when a wave of protests in Ukraine overthrew a democratically-elected pro-Russia government and replaced it with a pro-West administration. The majority in those areas refused to endorse the new administration.

Speaking to Press TV on Sunday, Andrey Kortunov, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), said while Russia’s military action might have been launched to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine, the conflict could morph into a prolonged conflict with far-reaching consequences.

The Russian analyst cautioned that Russia should not underestimate the power of the Ukrainian military, adding that this will not be an easy operation for Moscow.

Asked why NATO opted to ignore Russia’s warnings regarding its eastward expansion, Kortunov said, ‘It is hard for NATO to make commitments on non-enlargement.’

But even if NATO had no plan to take in Ukraine as a member, as demanded by Moscow, the military alliance has been using Ukrainian territory to deploy its military infrastructure near Russia, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Russian military has been ordered to attack the Ukrainian territory ‘from all directions’ after authorities in the former Soviet state refused negotiations with Moscow over a ceasefire agreement, with official reports saying Russian troops had entered Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said late on Saturday that the attacks in and around the Ukrainian capital of Kiev came after a brief respite in anticipation of ceasefire talks between the two warring sides in Belarus.

‘After the refusal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate, all units were ordered today to develop an offensive from all directions according to the plan of the operation,’ Konashenkov said in a video released by the ministry.

The senior official said pro-Russia forces in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, with fire support of the Russian military, advanced to a depth of up to 46 kilometres on the outskirts of Kiev, having captured the settlements of Shchastia, Muratovo, Starognatovka, Oktyabrskaya, and Pavlopol.

Konashenkov accused Ukrainian authorities of deploying rocket and artillery units in residential areas in cities across the country and appealed to the Ukrainian citizens to demand the immediate removal of all heavy weaponry from their homes.

‘The nationalistic regime in Kiev massively and uncontrollably distributes automatic small arms, grenade launchers and ammunition to residents of Ukrainian settlements,’ Konashenkov said.

‘Our intelligence data continues to track the deployment of rocket and artillery units by Ukrainian nationalists in residential areas not only in Kiev but also in other Ukrainian cities. The leadership of Ukraine has repeatedly stated that it does not hide behind the civilian population and does not put heavy firepower in cities. Such an outright lie can lead to serious consequences,’ he added.

Local media also reported occasional blasts and gunfire in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday night, with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky saying in a video message from the streets of Kiev posted on his social media that, ‘We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on.’

Following the Russian military advance from all directions, residents from other cities of Ukraine were seen gathering at a train station in the western city of Lviv to seek shelter as thousands of people, many foreigners, tried to leave the country.

Lviv is considered to be safer than the second largest city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine as no Russian tanks have appeared there, with the military conflict between Moscow and Kiev entering its 4th day.

Ukraine’s embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected a US offer to evacuate him out of the capital Kiev as Russian troops closed in on the city. He is insisting on staying put.

In a televised speech early on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ aimed at the ‘demilitarisation’ of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in eastern Ukraine, collectively known as Donbass.

The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognise a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at ‘defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime’.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says more than 120,000 Ukrainians have left the country since Russia started the military campaign against Ukraine on February 24.

Nearly 200 people have been killed so far, including civilians, three of whom were children, according to the Ukrainian health ministry.

In the wee hours of Sunday, Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said in a post on his Telegram account that Russian troop vehicles were seen on the streets of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Videos published by Herashchenko and Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection showed several light military vehicles moving along a street and, separately, a burning tank.

Local media reports confirmed that the armed clashes erupted in Kharkiv earlier in the day and fighting was taking place in several locations.

Regional administration chief Oleg Sinegubov wrote on Facebook that ‘the Russian enemy’s light vehicles broke into the city’, and urged residents not to leave shelters. ‘The Ukrainian armed forces are eliminating the enemy,’ he wrote.

While fighting raged in Kharkiv, the administration in Kiev said the capital remained under the control of Ukrainian forces despite clashes with ‘sabotage groups.’

The Russian Defence Ministry claimed on Sunday that its troops had besieged the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast. The Defence Ministry added that Russian troops had also taken control of Genichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov, and an airfield near Kherson.

In another development on Sunday morning, Russian troops attacked oil and gas facilities in the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv, southwest of Kiev, sparking huge explosions and setting an oil terminal ablaze.

Photographs and video posted online showed large flames rising into the sky, with the authorities warning residents to be on alert for toxic fumes.

Also on Sunday morning, pro-Russia separatists in Lugansk said an oil terminal was blown up by a Ukrainian missile in the town of Rovenky.

The attacks on the Ukrainian oil facilities come as Western governments prepared new sanctions against Moscow, including banishing key Russia banks from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.

The Western governments did not name the banks that would be denied access to SWIFT but an EU diplomat said some 70% of the Russian banking market would be affected.

The United States, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada have voiced their support for the expulsion of certain Russian banks from the global payment system.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that the world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine, warning that the conflict will have ‘lasting consequences’.

Macron’s presidential office also said in a statement that France would send more military equipment, as well as fuel, to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian offensive and slap more economic sanctions on Moscow.

The statement said the new sanctions would encompass ‘national measures to freeze the financial assets of Russian figures’ as well as ‘new measures’ to be taken ‘with European partners concerning the SWIFT’ interbank system.

EU Council President Charles Michel also said on Twitter that the European Union would facilitate the delivery of military aid to Ukraine.

endsA Moscow-based American political analyst says NATO’s expansionist policy and its disregard for Russia’s security concerns left President Vladimir Putin with no option but to launch military action against Ukraine.

Putin had to act when Russia’s proposals on security guarantees, which had been put forth with the aim of resolving the conflict diplomatically, were ignored by the United States and its NATO allies, Andrew Korybko told Press TV on Saturday.

Korybko noted that Putin had repeatedly warned against NATO’s hostile moves, inducing the deployment of anti-missile systems and strike weapons near the Russian borders. However, military action was ultimately the only option left for the Russian leader to safeguard Russia’s national security red lines, the analyst added.

The military operation, as Putin laid out in his remarks on Thursday, was also an attempt to eliminate neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, who still literally glorify their ancestors for collaborating with Nazi Germany in its genocide against Jews, Poles, Russians, and others, the analyst pointed out.

‘What I think is important to emphasise further is that the leading NATO countries, in order to achieve their own goals, support extreme nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, who, in turn, will never forgive the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents for choosing reunification with Russia,’ Putin said on February 24.

In 2014, Ukraine’s two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk – collectively known as the Donbass – were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians, leading to a bloody conflict between the government forces and the armed separatists.

Russia’s president says he had no other choice than launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Ukraine, as well as the European Union and the United States, claims that Russia has a hand in the conflict that erupted in the Donbass and has so far killed more than 14,000 people. Moscow denies the allegation.

The armed conflict began when a wave of protests in Ukraine overthrew a democratically-elected pro-Russia government and replaced it with a pro-West administration. The majority in those areas refused to endorse the new administration.

Speaking to Press TV on Sunday, Andrey Kortunov, director-general of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), said while Russia’s military action might have been launched to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine, the conflict could morph into a prolonged conflict with far-reaching consequences.

The Russian analyst cautioned that Russia should not underestimate the power of the Ukrainian military, adding that this will not be an easy operation for Moscow.

Asked why NATO opted to ignore Russia’s warnings regarding its eastward expansion, Kortunov said, ‘It is hard for NATO to make commitments on non-enlargement.’

But even if NATO had no plan to take in Ukraine as a member, as demanded by Moscow, the military alliance has been using Ukrainian territory to deploy its military infrastructure near Russia, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Russian military has been ordered to attack the Ukrainian territory ‘from all directions’ after authorities in the former Soviet state refused negotiations with Moscow over a ceasefire agreement, with official reports saying Russian troops had entered Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said late on Saturday that the attacks in and around the Ukrainian capital of Kiev came after a brief respite in anticipation of ceasefire talks between the two warring sides in Belarus.

‘After the refusal of the Ukrainian side to negotiate, all units were ordered today to develop an offensive from all directions according to the plan of the operation,’ Konashenkov said in a video released by the ministry.

The senior official said pro-Russia forces in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, with fire support of the Russian military, advanced to a depth of up to 46 kilometres on the outskirts of Kiev, having captured the settlements of Shchastia, Muratovo, Starognatovka, Oktyabrskaya, and Pavlopol.

Konashenkov accused Ukrainian authorities of deploying rocket and artillery units in residential areas in cities across the country and appealed to the Ukrainian citizens to demand the immediate removal of all heavy weaponry from their homes.

‘The nationalistic regime in Kiev massively and uncontrollably distributes automatic small arms, grenade launchers and ammunition to residents of Ukrainian settlements,’ Konashenkov said.

‘Our intelligence data continues to track the deployment of rocket and artillery units by Ukrainian nationalists in residential areas not only in Kiev but also in other Ukrainian cities. The leadership of Ukraine has repeatedly stated that it does not hide behind the civilian population and does not put heavy firepower in cities. Such an outright lie can lead to serious consequences,’ he added.

Local media also reported occasional blasts and gunfire in the Ukrainian capital on Saturday night, with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky saying in a video message from the streets of Kiev posted on his social media that, ‘We have withstood and are successfully repelling enemy attacks. The fighting goes on.’

Following the Russian military advance from all directions, residents from other cities of Ukraine were seen gathering at a train station in the western city of Lviv to seek shelter as thousands of people, many foreigners, tried to leave the country.

Lviv is considered to be safer than the second largest city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine as no Russian tanks have appeared there, with the military conflict between Moscow and Kiev entering its 4th day.

Ukraine’s embattled President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected a US offer to evacuate him out of the capital Kiev as Russian troops closed in on the city. He is insisting on staying put.

In a televised speech early on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ aimed at the ‘demilitarisation’ of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in eastern Ukraine, collectively known as Donbass.

The regions broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after refusing to recognise a Western-backed Ukrainian government that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.

Announcing the operation, Putin said the mission was aimed at ‘defending people who for eight years are suffering persecution and genocide by the Kiev regime’.

The United Nations Refugee Agency says more than 120,000 Ukrainians have left the country since Russia started the military campaign against Ukraine on February 24.

Nearly 200 people have been killed so far, including civilians, three of whom were children, according to the Ukrainian health ministry.

In the wee hours of Sunday, Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said in a post on his Telegram account that Russian troop vehicles were seen on the streets of Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kharkiv.

Videos published by Herashchenko and Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection showed several light military vehicles moving along a street and, separately, a burning tank.

Local media reports confirmed that the armed clashes erupted in Kharkiv earlier in the day and fighting was taking place in several locations.

Regional administration chief Oleg Sinegubov wrote on Facebook that ‘the Russian enemy’s light vehicles broke into the city’, and urged residents not to leave shelters. ‘The Ukrainian armed forces are eliminating the enemy,’ he wrote.

While fighting raged in Kharkiv, the administration in Kiev said the capital remained under the control of Ukrainian forces despite clashes with ‘sabotage groups.’

The Russian Defence Ministry claimed on Sunday that its troops had besieged the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson and the city of Berdyansk in the southeast. The Defence Ministry added that Russian troops had also taken control of Genichesk, a port city along the Sea of Azov, and an airfield near Kherson.

In another development on Sunday morning, Russian troops attacked oil and gas facilities in the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv, southwest of Kiev, sparking huge explosions and setting an oil terminal ablaze.

Photographs and video posted online showed large flames rising into the sky, with the authorities warning residents to be on alert for toxic fumes.

Also on Sunday morning, pro-Russia separatists in Lugansk said an oil terminal was blown up by a Ukrainian missile in the town of Rovenky.

The attacks on the Ukrainian oil facilities come as Western governments prepared new sanctions against Moscow, including banishing key Russia banks from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.

The Western governments did not name the banks that would be denied access to SWIFT but an EU diplomat said some 70% of the Russian banking market would be affected.

The United States, European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada have voiced their support for the expulsion of certain Russian banks from the global payment system.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that the world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine, warning that the conflict will have ‘lasting consequences’.

Macron’s presidential office also said in a statement that France would send more military equipment, as well as fuel, to Ukraine to help fight off the Russian offensive and slap more economic sanctions on Moscow.

The statement said the new sanctions would encompass ‘national measures to freeze the financial assets of Russian figures’ as well as ‘new measures’ to be taken ‘with European partners concerning the SWIFT’ interbank system.

EU Council President Charles Michel also said on Twitter that the European Union would facilitate the delivery of military aid to Ukraine.