Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the idea that the U.S. would claim victory in a conflict with Russia, noting that “nobody would survive” such a clash.
Speaking to U.S. movie director Oliver Stone for The Putin Interviews, a four-part series on Showtime, Putin shared a negative view of U.S. military action and its NATO alliance.
“NATO is a mere instrument of U.S. foreign policy,” Putin says in a clip of the interview, aired by the Showtime channel. “It has no allies, it has only vassals. Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the United States.”
Russian officials frequently claim that the U.S. commands European allegiance through NATO, despite the alliance arguing that participation in the alliance is voluntary and that allies merely agree to broad military cooperation upon entry, rather than to specific deployment or combat obligations.
Troubled by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has reoriented resources to defend allies near Russia. The Kremlin has vowed to respond with its own deployments and argued the move is aggressive.
Poland and Romania have claimed they volunteered to host elements of a U.S. missile shield—but speaking to Stone, Putin says this is just another example of U.S. dictated policy.
“In this case we have to take countermeasures,” Putin tells Stone. “We have to aim our missile systems at the facilities that are threatening us. The situation becomes more tense.”
In 2015, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council Yevgeny Lukyanov warned that countries that accept the U.S. missile shield system “ automatically become targets ” for Russia.
“Romania cannot be intimidated by threats! The Missile Defense System is fundamental for the national and regional security,” Romania’s then Prime Minister Victor Ponta said in response.
Meanwhile, the Polish Ministry of National Defence refused to refer to Lukyanov’s hypothetical conflict scenario—concluding that “the Ministry of National Defense refers to the facts.”