Putin says West ‘ignored’ Russia’s security concerns | News | DW

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the West had “ignored” Moscow’s security concerns in his first public remarks on the standoff in Ukraine in more than a month.

Last week, the United States and NATO responded to calls from the Kremlin for legally binding security guarantees.

However, Putin believes Russia’s demands have fallen on deaf ears. He told reporters: “We are carefully analyzing the written responses received from the United States and NATO.”

“But it’s already clear that Russia’s core concerns have ended up being ignored,” he said, adding that the Kremlin is still looking at US and NATO reactions.

“I hope that in the end we will find a solution, even if it will not be easy,” Putin said, indicating he was ready to continue talks with the West, which accused Russia of gathering more of 100,000 soldiers on its border with Ukraine. before a planned invasion of its neighbour.

“It seems to me that the United States is not so much concerned about the security of Ukraine, but its main task is to contain the development of Russia,” Putin said.

“In this sense, Ukraine itself is just a tool to achieve this goal,” he said.

Putin added that French President Emmanuel Macron may visit Moscow for talks “in the near future”.

Hungarian Orban meets Putin despite opposition

Putin made the comments after speaking with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Although “substantial”, the differences between the West and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis are “surmountable”, Orban told a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart.

“It is possible to conclude such an agreement which guarantees both peace and security for Russia, and which is also acceptable to the members of NATO”, he added, stressing that no European leader does not want a war in the region.

Orban’s arrival in Moscow on Tuesday marked the first face-to-face meeting with Putin by an EU leader since the escalating crisis in Ukraine. Prior to the trip, Hungarian opposition leaders jointly called on Orban to cancel the visit as it was “contrary to our national interests”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has met Russian President Vladimir Putin, making him the first EU leader to do so since the Ukraine crisis began to escalate.

US: Russia should withdraw troops if it has no invasion plans

Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a phone call that Moscow would have to withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine if it did not have the intent to invade, a senior State Department official told reporters.

Blinken and Lavrov had a “professional and quite candid” conversation in English, the official said. “We continue to hear assurances that Russia does not plan to invade, but certainly every action we see says otherwise, with the continued buildup of troops, heavy weapons, moving towards the border,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“If President Putin really has no intention of going to war or changing the regime, the secretary told Foreign Minister Lavrov, now is the time to withdraw troops and heavy weapons and engage a serious discussion likely to strengthen European collective security,” the official added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered a similar view to Blinken on the threat posed by Russia. “We are waiting for Russia to withdraw troops from our border,” Zelenskyy said. “That would be an important signal and the only real answer to the question of whether Russia will continue the escalation or not.”

Ukraine’s president on Tuesday signed a decree expanding the country’s army by 100,000 soldiers, bringing the total number to 350,000 over the next three years, while promising to raise their salaries.

Putin ‘points a gun to Ukraine’s head’, says Johnson

In a show of support for Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki were both in Kyiv for talks with Zelenskyy on Tuesday.

Johnson accused Putin of “bullying” Ukraine in a bid to force the West to redraw the security map of post-Cold War Europe. He said Russia was jeopardizing security by carving out spheres of influence for itself that would again divide Europe, rolling back freedoms gained after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

“He’s trying, by pointing a gun at Ukraine’s head, to make us change the way we see something absolutely fantastic,” Johnson said in Kyiv.

Morawiecki promised to deliver more ammunition and weapons to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft systems and reconnaissance drones.

After calling off a call with Putin on Monday due to an outburst of anger at parties at the heart of Britain’s government as the country was locked down by coronavirus, Johnson said he would speak to the Russian president on Wednesday.

Johnson dismissed suggestions that the West might be exaggerating the Russian threat, warning that Britain would impose sanctions on strategic business interests and Russian individuals if it invaded Ukraine.

jsi, kb/nm (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)

Laura T. Thrasher