Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated today he spoke with American President Donald Trump about the "possible consequences" of Ukraine or Georgia being folded into NATO.
"We will respond proportionally to aggressive moves that pose a direct threat to Russia... Our counterparts who bet on rising tensions, are trying to bring, say, Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance’s military orbit but they should think about the possible consequences of such an irresponsible policy," Putin said, according to Russia's TASS news agency. "There is a need for a different -- more positive -- agenda, aimed at boosting cooperation and the search for common ground."
Putin said that he had discussed the matter with Trump during their summit in Helsinki on Monday. TASS didn't say if Putin described Trump's position on the subject.
Trump generated controversy recently by appearing to side with Putin on the issue of Crimea, the southern Ukrainian territory that was stealth invaded by Russia and annexed it in 2014 after a referendum that critics called illegitimate. Trump later said the loss of Crimea was a "disaster" and said it would not have happened if he had been president at the time.
Russia invaded Georgia, a small country on Russia's southern border, in 2008 in support of two break-away regions there, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The conflict lasted only five days officially, but a New York Times report from in February that there continue to be clashes a decade later.
"The war [...] demonstrated the weaknesses of NATO and the EU [European Union] security system, because they provided no efficient response to Russia's forced changing of the borders and occupation of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member state," a 2011 study on the conflict for the Army War College said. "The war demonstrated fissures in Europe between the Western powers eager to maintain good relations with Russia, and the Eastern European states which, 20 years after the collapse of the USSR, retain a political memory of the Soviet occupation."
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