The White House said that NATO does not threaten Russia, and called President Vladimir Putin’s order on a special combat duty regime in the Russian deterrence forces a reaction to threats “that do not exist.”

Putin earlier at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov ordered the transfer of deterrence forces to a special mode of combat duty. He said that “senior officials of the leading NATO countries also allow aggressive statements against our country.”

“At no time has Russia been under threat from NATO, from Ukraine,” U.S. administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in an interview with ABC.

“First of all, this is a model of behavior that we see on the part of President Putin throughout this conflict. It consists in creating threats that exist to justify further aggression,” she said.