Europe

Putin accuses the United States and its allies of disregarding Russia’s security needs.

His remarks, his first on the standoff in almost a month, hinted that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was unlikely and that at least one more round of diplomacy was likely.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the United States and its allies of neglecting Russia’s main security needs, but said Moscow is eager to discuss more about the Ukraine crisis.

His remarks, his first on the standoff in almost a month, hinted that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was unlikely and that at least one more round of diplomacy was likely.

Nonetheless, the two sides have remained staunch in their fundamental views, and there appeared to be little chance for concessions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken are likely to respond soon to a US proposal for negotiations on smaller Russian demands.

Lavrov and Blinken spoke on Tuesday, reiterating Putin’s and President Joe Biden’s positions. Biden and Putin could possibly speak after the US hears Russia’s response, according to the White House.

Putin said the Kremlin is still reviewing the US and NATO responses to Russian security demands received last week during a Moscow press conference with the visiting leader of NATO ally Hungary.

However, he stated that the West has clearly disregarded Russian demands that NATO not extend to Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, refrain from placing offensive weapons near Russia, and reduce its deployments in Eastern Europe.

Putin emphasized that if all parties’ interests, including Russia’s security concerns, are considered, a resolution to the crisis can be reached. “I hope that we will eventually find a solution,” Putin said, “though we recognize that it will not be simple.”

Russian military have stockpiled over 100,000 troops around Ukraine’s border, raising fears of an invasion. It has stated that it has no plans to attack.

The fundamental requests of Moscow have been rejected by Washington and its allies. They stress that Ukraine, like any other country, has the right to select its allies, despite the fact that it is currently not a member of NATO and is unlikely to join anytime soon.

Putin claimed that the Western partners’ failure to meet Russia’s demands is a violation of their commitments to all nations’ security integrity. He warned that if Ukraine joins NATO, it could be forced to undertake military action to recover control of Russian-annexed Crimea or areas in Ukraine’s east controlled by Russia-backed rebels.

“Imagine Ukraine joining NATO and initiating those military actions,” Putin warned. “Should we then fight NATO?” “Has anyone considered it?”

Following the removal of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly president in 2014, Russia grabbed the Crimean Peninsula and then backed separatists in the country’s eastern industrial heartland, sparking a conflict that has killed over 14,000 people.

While the US expresses worry about Ukraine’s security, Putin claims that the US is using the ex-Soviet republic as a “instrument” in its efforts to restrict Russia.

He claimed that Washington might try to “pull us into a military battle and push its European partners to implement the punitive sanctions that the US is discussing now.” Another alternative, according to Putin, is to “bring Ukraine into NATO, deploy offensive weaponry there,” and urge Ukrainian nationalists to use force to recover the rebel-held east or Crimea, therefore “pulling us into a military battle.”

Putin said after meetings with Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, who has developed closer connections with Moscow than almost any other NATO member, that a deal can still be reached.

“We must find a solution to protect the interests and security of all parties, including Ukraine, European nations, and Russia,” Putin said, emphasizing the need of the West taking Russian suggestions seriously if progress is to be made.

Following their call on Monday, he said French President Emmanuel Macron may visit Moscow shortly as part of fresh diplomatic efforts.

In an attempt to put pressure on the West, Lavrov wrote letters to the US and other Western allies, reminding them of past responsibilities signed by all members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a leading trans-Atlantic security organization.

Russia has contended that NATO’s eastward expansion has harmed its security, breaking the OSCE’s “indivisibility of security” principle, which was endorsed in 1999 and 2010. It claims that the US and its allies have disregarded the notion that one nation’s security should not be bolstered at the expense of others, while insisting on each country’s right to pick its allies.

“There must be security for all or there will be no security for anyone,” Lavrov wrote in his letter, which was released by the foreign ministry. In his call with Blinken, Lavrov also stated that Moscow will not allow the US to “hush up” the problem.

Meanwhile, Blinken highlighted “the United States’ willingness to continue a substantive engagement with Russia on mutual security challenges, bilaterally and in collaboration with Allies and partners.”

Blinken, on the other hand, was adamant about “the US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the freedom of all countries to decide their own foreign policy and alliances,” according to State Department spokesman Ned Price.

Price quoted Blinken as saying that he “urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the removal of Russian troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders.” He reiterated that “future invasions of Ukraine will be met with fast and serious repercussions,” and urged Russia to choose a diplomatic approach.

Meanwhile, Blinken emphasized “the US willingness to maintain substantial engagement with Russia on common security problems, bilaterally and in coordination with Allies and partners.”

According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, Blinken was unequivocal about “the US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the freedom of all countries to establish their own foreign policy and alliances.”

Blinken “urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the removal of Russian troops and equipment from Ukraine’s borders,” according to Price. “Future invasions of Ukraine would be faced with swift and severe repercussions,” he said, urging Russia to take a diplomatic approach.

“I don’t understand why the United States is raising tensions while simultaneously criticizing Russia,” he said.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, paid a visit to Kyiv for meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The United Kingdom, according to Johnson, has a package of penalties ready to go “the moment the first Russian toecap crosses farther into Ukrainian land.”

“It’s critical that Russia takes a step back and picks a diplomatic approach, which I believe is still achievable,” Johnson said. “Of course, we are eager to engage in dialogue. However, we are prepared to impose fines.”

He claimed he’d phone Putin on Wednesday and that the Russian leader was attempting to “impose a new Yalta, new zones of influence,” referring to the 1945 Allied Powers Agreement. “And it wouldn’t just be Ukraine,” Johnson warned, “that would be brought back into the Russian sphere of influence.”

According to a US official familiar with the decision, Biden was set to propose career foreign service officer Bridget Brink to fill the long-vacant diplomatic post of American ambassador to Ukraine. Brink is the ambassador to Slovakia at the moment.

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