Tuesday, January 31

Putin Prepares to Talk to US Amid Desire to Stop NATO Expansion in Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Washington’s willingness to discuss Russia’s security proposals aimed at curbing NATO’s eastward expansion was “positive” as fears in the West of a major escalation mount. military in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has become increasingly insistent that the West and NATO are dangerously encroaching on Russia’s borders.

Moscow presented broad security demands to the West last week, saying NATO should not admit new members and prohibiting the United States from establishing new bases in ex-Soviet countries.

At his annual conference in Moscow, Putin urged the West to “immediately” meet Russia’s demand for security guarantees that impede NATO expansion into Ukraine and the deployment of the military alliance’s weapons there.

“Without any gimmicks, we just directly posed the question that there should be no more NATO moves to the East, the ball is in their court, they should answer us with something. In this regard, I would like to emphasize that in general, we have seen a positive reaction so far, our American partners tell us that they are ready to start this discussion from the beginning of the [next] year in Geneva, “Putin said.

At a press conference at the White House on Thursday, press secretary Jen Psaki responded to comments made by Putin, after the latter accused the West of trying to make Ukraine “anti-Russia, constantly reinforced with modern weapons and brainwashing the population. “

The Russian leader also warned that the discussion focused on the needs of Moscow’s demand to produce quick results.

Psaki responded that Washington is willing to discuss the security proposals, but does not agree with part of them and insists that European allies should be part of the talks.

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“There have been proposals put forward by the Russians. With some we would agree, with others we would certainly disagree. Obviously, NATO is a defensive alliance and diplomacy is the best way, so we are working to finalize what will be seen. like this, “said Psaki.

Talks to reduce tensions over NATO and Ukraine will take place between the United States and Russia next year in Geneva.

Rising tensions peaked this week when Putin vowed that Russia would take “appropriate retaliatory” military measures in response to what he called the “aggressive stance” of the West.

He also announced that a new arsenal of hypersonic missiles that he had previously described as “invincible” were approaching combat readiness.

Tensions between Russia, Ukraine and the West have been building slowly since mid-November, when Washington raised the alarm about a massive build-up of Russian troops around Ukraine and accused Putin of planning an invasion.

The West has long accused the Kremlin of providing direct military support to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, who seized two regions shortly after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014. The conflict has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

On Thursday, the European Union reaffirmed its support for Ukraine when EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell called on Moscow to “reduce tension” and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity once again.


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