Vladimir Putin Says There 'Will Be No Winners' As He Warns Europe Of War
Vladimir Putin has warned of the potential 'war conflict' if Ukraine is allowed to join NATO.
The Russian president's message came after hours of talks with French president Emmanuel Macron.
Following his meeting in Moscow with Macron, Putin said that while talks were constructive, he wanted to 'stress' the potential fallout if Ukraine is allowed to join NATO.
'I've been saying it, but I'd very much want you to finally hear me, and to deliver it to your audience in print, TV and online. Do you understand it or not, that if Ukraine joins NATO and attempts to bring Crimea back by military means, the European countries will be automatically pulled into a war conflict with Russia,' Putin said, per MailOnline.
Ukraine is not currently part of NATO, but has previously applied to become a member.
However, Putin warned that should Ukraine become part of NATO, 'there will be no winners. And you will be pulled into this conflict against your will'. 'You won't even have time to blink your eye when you execute Article 5,' he added.
Article 5 relates to the collective defence of NATO allies, meaning that should Ukraine become part of NATO it would be defended by other countries in the alliance.
Putin added that while 'the [military] potential of NATO and Russia are incomparable', he also understands 'that Russia is one of the leading nuclear states, and by some modern components it even outperforms many'.
The Russian president went on to say that it has previously warned NATO of expanding east, but said that there was 'just a complete disregard for our concerns, demands, and proposals'.
However, Putin affirmed that conflict is not something he or president Macron want.
He added, 'Mr President Macron, of course, doesn't want this. And I don't want it. And I don't want it… which is why he is here [in Moscow], torturing me for six straight hours.'
Macron is the first western leader to meet Putin in Moscow since the country began amassing troops at the Ukraine border.
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