Vladimir Putin warns that Russia will respond to 'aggressive actions' by NATO

Putin has been marking the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Russia

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Vladimir Putin. Image: Pavel Golovkin / AP/Press Association Images

Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia will respond to what he described as 'aggressive' actions and rhertoric of NATO.

Putin made the comments, quoted by Reuters, during a parliamentary speech marking the 75th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa - Nazi Germany's invasion of Russia during the Second World War.

The Russian president criticised Western leaders for their unwillingness to build a "non-bloc collective security system" with his country.

He said: "Russia is open to discuss this crucial issue and has more than once shown its readiness for dialogue.

"But, just as it happened on the eve of World War Two, we do not see a positive reaction in response. On the contrary, NATO is strengthening its aggressive rhetoric and its aggressive actions near our borders."

He added that Russia is "duty-bound" to focus on "strengthening the combat readiness of our country".

The comments come ahead of a major NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

RT reports that four batallions - with up to 800 troops in each - are expected to be deployed to the Baltic States and Poland during the summit.

In recent years, American and NATO forces stepped up deployments and exercises in Eastern Europe as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and concerns over Russia's actions in the region.

Diplomatic relations have also been at a low as a result of Russia's actions in Syria, where Russian forces are assisting the regime of Bashar al Assad.

EU sanctions on Russia, which were introduced in 2014 in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, are set to lapse on July 31st.

A unanimous vote is required for sanctions to be prolonged, and they are currently expected to be extended for another six months.

Earlier this month, Russia's foreign ministry vowed to respond to the entry of a US Navy ship into the Black Sea with unspecified "measures".