Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised the prospect of a potential new military escalation in Europe. In an address to parliament, he called for a freeze on Russian compliance with a treaty limiting military deployments across Europe. And he laid the blame with Nato members for failing to respect its terms.
He told the assembly:
“They are planning to station elements of anti-missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. And new member-countries like Slovakia and Baltic states, despite the agreements with the Alliance, have not yet joined the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. This poses a real danger for us with unpredictable outcomes. In connection with this, I consider it expedient to declare a moratorium on Russia’s implementation of this treaty”.
He also lashed out at what he called foreign influences who were trying to meddle in the country’s internal affairs.
The hawkish speech is seen as laying out a route for his successor after he steps down next year.
He also announced big new spending commitments and infrastructure projects to be completed after his tenure.