Vladimir-Putin-during-the-012Vladimir Putin has suggested to a German interviewer that the west is provoking Russia into a new cold war. The airing of the interview, which was recorded by the German channel ARD in Vladivostok last week, followed Russia’s tit-for-tat expulsions of German and Polish diplomats, as well as the deportation of a Latvian accused of spying. Asked whether the accusatory rhetoric between Moscow and Washington and a noticeable increase in Russian displays of military strength near western countries points to a new cold war, Putin said two rounds of Nato expansion in central and eastern Europe had been “significant geopolitical game changers” that forced Russia to respond. More