Vladimir Putin accuses US of 'standing with missiles on our doorstep'

The Russian president was speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference in Moscow on Thursday. Credit: AP

Russia's president Vladimir Putin said he would be prepared to launch an intervention against western forces if he felt the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was preparing an attack on Russia and its allies in Ukraine.

Mr Putin made the comments at his annual end of year press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

He accused NATO of moving too close to his country, and warned against further expansaion.

"We have made it clear that NATO’s move to the east is unacceptable," he said.

"The United States is standing with missiles on our doorstep. Is it an excessive requirement not to install shock systems at our house?

"How would the Americans react if missiles were placed at the border with Canada or Mexico?"

Vladimir Putin's end of year press conferences with journalists can often last up to four and a half hours. Credit: AP

The former KGB agent said "the ball is in the West's court" in relation to peace and security in Eastern Europe.

"We want to ensure our security", he said.

"We put it straight: there must be no further expansion of NATO eastward."Mr Putin - who has served continuously as either Russia's president or prime minister since 2000 - has stationed more than 100,000 soldiers within striking distance of the Ukrainian border.

Earlier this week, the 69-year-old demanded guarantees from the US and its allies that NATO will not expand eastwards. He blamed the West for “tensions that are building up in Europe.”

Russia has sent troops in their thousands to the border with Ukraine for the past few weeks, sparking fears of a possible invasion.

But Moscow has denied it plans to attack Ukraine, saying the concerns are part of efforts to smear Russia.