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Foreign Powers Targeting Russia 'From Outside and Within' — Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting at the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 16, 2017. Kremlin Press Service

Foreign powers are attempting to destabilize Russia from outside and within, Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed.

Speaking at a board meeting of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), Putin said NATO's growing presence on Russia's borders was proof that the West wanted to draw Russia into a confrontation. He also dismissed the organization's decision to categorize Russia as a “major security threat” saying the move was a ruse to justify extending NATO's influence.

The president also said Ukraine was another threat which wanted to draw Moscow into a military confrontation. He accused Kiev of trying to disrupt peace negotiations by aggravating conflict in the Donbass region.

“[The Ukrainian authorities] speak openly about carrying subversive activities, including in Russia," he said. "It is a cause for concern."

Despite his condemnation of Western governments, Putin did stress that Russian needed to restore dialogue with European and U.S. Intelligence agencies — primarily to better fight terrorism.

"Bloody conflicts involving international terrorist groups are continuing in a number of countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These are in fact terrorist armies: receiving hidden and or explicit support from certain countries," he said.

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