President Vladimir Putin tells West not to fear Russia

Tanks are seen on a freight train shortly after its arrival at a railway station in the Russian southern town of Matveev Kurgan, near the Russian-Ukrainian border in Rostov region, Russia, May 26, 2015. Picture taken with a mobile phone. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova

Tanks are seen on a freight train shortly after its arrival at a railway station in the Russian southern town of Matveev Kurgan, near the Russian-Ukrainian border in Rostov region, Russia, May 26, 2015. Picture taken with a mobile phone. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova

“Only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack Nato,” Mr Putin told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The Western alliance is bolstering its military presence in its eastern European members in response to their fears of Russian threat, following its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
Nato says that Russia is backing rebels in Ukraine – a claim denied by Moscow.

Early this month, Nato pledged to counter “hybrid warfare” from Russia – which included a mixture of conventional military tactics, subversive campaigns and cyber-warfare that Russia was using in Ukraine.

Three Baltic countries are preparing to ask for a permanent presence of Nato troops on their soil to act as a deterrent to the Russian military.

A 5,000-strong Nato “spearhead” force is being established and six small headquarters set up to co-ordinate operations.

In his interview with Corriere della Sera, Mr Putin said some countries were “simply taking advantage of people’s fears with regard to Russia” in order to receive “some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid”.

“There is no need to fear Russia,” Mr Putin said.

“The world has changed so drastically that people with some common sense cannot even imagine such a large-scale military conflict today. We have other things to think about, I assure you.”

Heavy fighting has erupted in Ukraine this week, focusing on the towns of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, west of rebel-held Donetsk.

The opposing sides have accused each other of shattering February’s Minsk ceasefire, requiring them to withdraw heavy weapons from the frontline.

Read More here at the BBC News