| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

Putin says Germany made ‘mistake’ to side with NATO

Germany had made a “mistake” in siding with NATO in the war in Ukraine, said Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Friday.

He claimed that the decision to cancel the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a German one and that it was an error to prioritize NATO and European security over what Moscow believes to be Germany’s national interest.

“German citizens, businesses, and its economy are paying for this mistake, because it has negative economic consequences for the eurozone as a whole, and in Germany,” he said, in reference to Nord Stream 2.

By contrast, Putin believes Russia “is doing everything right” in its stalled effort to conquer Ukraine, which has led Russia to be accused of frequent rights abuses, war crimes and violations of international law.

What else did Putin say about NATO?
Any direct confrontation between NATO forces and Russian troops would be a “global catastrophe,” he said.

Putin relayed that he had no regrets about his decision to invade Ukraine despite the hugely unpopular mobilization and Russia’s minimal battlefield gains in the months since the war began.

He added he would want the humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian grain closed should it emerge they are being used for what he termed “acts of terror.” Turkey, a NATO member state, and the UN brokered a deal to bring Ukrainian grain to world markets in July.

Earlier this month, the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, which Moscow illegally annexed in 2014, was targeted by a truck bomb Russia has since blamed on Ukraine.

While Kyiv residents and government officials celebrated the act of sabotage and the Ukrainian postal service ordered up commemorative stamps, Ukraine did not formally claim its forces were behind the attack. Russia has blamed Ukraine’s military intelligence.

What else did Putin say about Ukraine?
At the news conference following the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Putin claimed that the partial mobilization he ordered would be over in two weeks.

He added that there are no future plans at present for further call-ups. Sixteen thousand reservists are currently engaged in military activities, he noted.

“Nothing additional is planned. No proposals have been received from the defense ministry and I don’t see any additional need in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Though Putin once said the invasion and capture of Ukraine would be over swiftly, he ordered 300,000 reservists be called up to fight in Ukraine last month. Nearly as many men of military age left the country then to avoid mobilizing.

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