Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened the West with unspecified steps if his proposals for binding security guarantees are rejected. If the negotiations fail, the answer will depend on “the proposals that our military experts will give me,” Putin said on state television on Sunday. However, he once again indicated his willingness to resolve the conflict over Ukraine diplomatically.
Putin spoke after the Western Defense Alliance announced that NATO would hold talks with Russia. A NATO official said on Saturday that the NATO-Russia Council may meet in January for the first time in two and a half years. Moscow is still studying participation.
Russia had submitted a draft agreement to NATO, the United States and their allies more than a week ago. In it, Moscow calls for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, which it considers itself threatening. In addition, Russia wants to ensure that Ukraine is not accepted by NATO as a member. The Western military alliance has long rejected this demand.
According to Russian information, the talks will begin initially with representatives of the United States in January (January). Putin stressed only on Thursday that Moscow expects quick results. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, warned on state television against postponing the upcoming talks. “A resolution is required, a quick and tangible solution – and a solution that suits our interests.”
The main concern in the West is that Russia has massed tens of thousands of soldiers not far from Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced, on Saturday, the return of more than 10 thousand soldiers to their bases after a maneuver. However, it remained open, how many of them were on the border with Ukraine.
At a press conference on Thursday, Putin did not give a clear answer to a question if he could guarantee that his country would not invade Ukraine. His spokesman, Peskov, said over the weekend of the West’s concerns: “Russia did not attack anyone first.” In 2014, despite all international protests, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea, and pro-Russian separatists took control of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The West threatened Moscow with dire consequences in the event of an attack on its neighboring country
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a conversation with US deputies from Congress and the Senate, called on the United Nations to participate in the peace process. He said, according to the presidential office, “Now more than ever, it is not words that matter, but decisive action. My goal is to stop the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.” Europe’s security is at risk.
In eastern Ukraine, shortly before Christmas, the parties to the conflict agreed to abide by a ceasefire that had been in place for a year and a half. However, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has reported numerous violations. In a notice published Sunday night, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe complained that the work of independent monitors had been obstructed the previous day in the Luhansk region.
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