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Putin: West Invokes ‘Russian Threat’ Because Their Economies Sag

President Putin speaking with military pilots. Credit:

March 28, 2024 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit yesterday to an army aviation training center in the Tver Region, about 220 km northwest of Moscow, where he inspected aircraft models, airborne weapons systems and simulators and spoke to a group of pilots.

In his meeting with the pilots, Putin ridiculed the claim made frequently in the West that Russia is going to attack NATO. Newsweek quoted him as saying: “The United States’ defense spending amounts to about 40% of the global figure, or more precisely, 39%, while Russia accounts for 3.5%. Considering this difference, are we planning to fight NATO? This is nonsense,” he said. “Besides, what are we doing during our special military operation? We are defending the people who live in our historical territories.” Putin noted that it was NATO that moved up to Russia’s borders, not the other way around. “It is therefore complete nonsense when people say that we intend to attack Europe after Ukraine.”

He went on: “They are intimidating their own population in order to extort money from them, from their own people at a time when the economy is sagging and living standards are declining. This is obvious. Everyone admits this, and this is not some kind of propaganda, this is happening in real life. They need an excuse, they are scaring their population with a possible ‘Russian threat,’ and they are simultaneously spreading their dictate all over the world.”

He charged further that NATO is expanding outside of the North Atlantic region. “Where is it now heading? It is entering the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and other regions, even including Latin America. They are doing this under various pretexts and inventing various excuses. They are doing one and the same thing: they are deploying NATO forces there and dragging their European satellites there. The latter obviously believe that all this meets their national interests to some extent, and they fear a big and strong Russia, although this is pointless.”

Putin also vowed that Russia will deal with the F-16s that several countries have promised to deliver to Ukraine. “First, if they supply F-16s, this will not change the situation on the battlefield. We will destroy their aircraft just like we are now destroying their tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment, including multiple-launch rocket systems.”

When asked about the launching of F-16s from NATO bases outside of Ukraine, he said that bases could be hit: “Of course, we would see them as legitimate targets if they operate from the airfields of third countries, no matter where they are located. F-16 aircraft can also carry nuclear weapons, and we will also have to heed this while organizing our combat operations.”