Peeved Putin complains West ‘ignored’ demands as Blinken, Lavrov confe…

Peeved Putin complains West ‘ignored’ demands as Blinken, Lavrov confe…




Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of dismissing the Kremlin’s “basic concerns” about the crisis in Ukraine and the military standoff across Eastern Europe, already as his foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held however another phone call trying to head off a war in the heart of Europe.

Mr. Putin repeated familiar complaints that Washington was trying to “contain” his country and said talk in NATO that Ukraine may one day join the Western military alliance would “undermine Russia‘s security.”

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow with visiting Hungarian chief Minister Viktor Orban, Mr. Putin also condemned NATO‘s decision to place missile launchers in Romania and Poland, calling them “a threat to Russia.”

“We haven’t seen adequate consideration of our three meaningful requirements concerning the prevention of NATO expansion, the refusal to deploy strike weapons systems near the Russian borders in addition as the return of the military infrastructure” to NATO‘s borders before a major eastern push in the late 1990s, Mr. Putin said.

In a readout of the top diplomats’ call, the State Department said Mr. Blinken called on Moscow to closest de-escalate tensions in Eastern Europe that have soared after the Russian deployment of more than 100,000 troops and heavy weaponry to three sides of its border with Ukraine.

But both Mr. Putin and Mr. Blinken said in their separate remarks that they were not ruling out a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

“I hope our dialogue on Ukraine can continue,” the Russian leader said, in order to find a way to “protect everyone’s security.”

It was Mr. Putin‘s first substantial public comments on the Ukraine crisis in more than a month, and the first since the Biden administration and NATO provided written responses that largely stiff-armed the Kremlin’s call for legally binding security guarantees. It was clear he was increasingly frustrated by NATO‘s refusal to rule out extending membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet states as he had demanded.

“Let’s imagine Ukraine is a NATO member and starts these military operations. Are we supposed to go to war with the NATO bloc? Has anyone given that any thought? seemingly not,” he said.

Russia seized Ukraine‘s Crimean Peninsula without a Western military response in 2014, and continues to back breakaway separatist movements in eastern Ukraine that are battling the Western-backed government in Kyiv.

Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov spoke just a day after U.S. and Russian diplomats traded broadsides at a charged U.N. Security Council meeting over who was responsible for the gathering crisis in Ukraine.

The State Department said only that Mr. Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. and NATO sustain of Ukraine and discussed the written responses the Biden administration has presented to the Kremlin.

Despite Tuesday’s remarks, Mr. Putin has however to respond officially to U.S. and NATO documents delivered last month that rejected his demands but offered to discuss revamped security arrangements in the vicinity more broadly.

Mr. Blinken “emphasized the U.S. willingness, bilaterally and together with allies and partners, to continue a substantive exchange with Russia on mutual security concerns, which we intend to do in complete coordination with our partners and allies,” department spokesman Ned Price said in the five-sentence statement, while once again warning Mr. Lavrov that military action against Kyiv “would be met with rapid and harsh consequences.”

Mr. Blinken also “urged immediate Russian de-escalation and the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Ukraine‘s borders,” Mr. Price said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Putin was nevertheless formulating his response to the U.S. and NATO written proposals. He said U.S. media reports that a Russian response had already been delivered were erroneous.

U.S. and Russian ambassadors exchanged sharp words at Monday’s showdown U.N. Security Council session, which was held over Moscow‘s objections. Russia‘s ambassador accused Washington of escalating the fight and seeming to be rooting for war, while the United States’ U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the Kremlin’s military mobilization near Ukraine was the main cause for the crisis.

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