Vladimir Putin makes sure everyone knows of the power and force his has. In a conversation with the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, the Russian President made a belligerent remark claiming: “If I want, I take Kiev in two weeks.”
Mr. Barroso was quick to report Putin’s threat to colleagues at last weekend’s EU summit, after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, who yesterday accused Russia of “direct and undisguised aggression”, had left the summit table.
“Direct and open aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighbouring state. This has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way,” Poroshenko said in a speech at a military academy in Kiev.
The European diplomat told the assembled leaders from 28 European nations that when he asked Mr. Putin about Russian soldiers being on the ground in Ukraine, he issued a stark threat, reports the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The paper also quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying, “there are no limits to the unpredictability of Putin.” Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron warned the heads of state that Putin must not be permitted to take the whole country “or we risk repeating the errors of 1938 in Munich.”
However, a Kremlin spokesman claimed that the provoking statement was taken “out of context” and the officials can provide a tape of the discussion to prove it.
Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov did not deny the comment but declared: “Whether these words were said or not I believe the quote that you cite has been taken out of context and had a completely different meaning.”
Ambassador Vladimir Chizov warned Barroso that Moscow will disclose a recording of the talk to “clear up misunderstandings” over the call, assuming that a release will embarrass the European Commission president more than the Russian leader.
Chizov’s letter read: “ To clear up misunderstandings we are ready to release the contents (of the call) if you don’t inform us of your disagreement within two days.”
Despite the escalating tensions between all parties involved, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told negotiators in the Belarussian capital of Minsk that an “immediate ceasefire” is Russia’s priority, reports the IBTimes.
It is expected that leaders of the European countries are to agree to the new force at this week’s NATO summit in Wales, and it is likely to include British troops. The spearhead force is part of a package of measures to sharpen up the alliance as it faces crises in Iraq and Ukraine.
At a pre-summit news conference, Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said alliance officials have drafted a detailed plan that “responds to Russia’s aggressive behaviour” but also equips Nato to respond to all security challenges, wherever they may arise.
The EU’s new head of foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, also warned there was no military solution to what is now Europe’s biggest crisis in decades. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary general of the alliance, said NATO faced multiple crises on its southern and eastern borders that could erupt at any time.