Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says Russia will no longer "tolerate" NATO's eastward expansion and "gradual invasion" into Ukraine.
Appearing Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is not invading or attacking Ukraine.
"This is fake news," Peskov said.
So far, roughly 100,000 Russian troops have amassed near the Ukraine-Russia border.
"When Germany was reunited and when the then-Soviet Union and the Soviet Union leader Mr. [Mikhail] Gorbachev said OK to that, there was a promise by American side," Peskov continued. "Unfortunately, not fixed in a juridical, in a legally binding guaranteeing document, but it — there was a guarantee that NATO would never ... expand its military infrastructure or political infrastructure eastwards."
"Unfortunately, the opposite thing started to happen since then, and NATO's military infrastructure started to get closer and closer to the borders of the Russian Federation," he said, citing that recent actions taken by the U.S. military led to Russia feeling "endangered."
"At first," Peskov said, "they were just words, but with the time being, we have seen the gradual invasion of NATO into Ukrainian territory, with its infrastructure, with its instructors, with supplies of defensive and offensive weapons, teaching Ukrainian military, and so on and so forth. And that brought us to the red line. That brought us to the situation when we — when we couldn't tolerate it anymore."
Last week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was "high."
While Peskov states there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine's Donbas region, the Hill's report maintains that Russian soldiers have been spotted out of uniform.
"I'm a spokesperson to Kremlin, and I officially can tell you that there are no Russian troops on Donbas and on Ukrainian soil," he stated.
Zakaria then asked Peskov if Russia could reach a compromise if Ukraine became a NATO member.
"Well, there is also space for compromise. Excluding some principal concerns, and here we're talking about principal concerns. Russia has never had a deficit of political will for negotiations," expressed Peskov. "But in general, in principle, we can now say that we are staying on different tracks, on totally different tracks, and this is not good, and this is disturbing."
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