Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he welcomed a security dialogue with the West as his military signaled pulling back some of its troops near Ukraine – signals that could indicate that the Kremlin has opted for a diplomat path for now despite Western fears of an impending russian invasion of son neighbor.
Putin said he want the war and would rely on negotiations as he presses son demand for the West to stop Ukraine’s attempt to join NATO. At the same time, he has no commit has a full retreat of troops, saying that Russia next moves in the impasse will depend on how the situation is changing.
While openings soothe global markets that have been on edge in the midst of the worst East-West tensions in decades, Washington and its European allies have remained cautious, saying they want see evidence of a Russian retreat.
The United States and NATO have warned that over 130,000 Russian forces massed near Ukraine could invade at any time, and they sent troops and military shore supplies up NATO members in Eastern Europe. Russia has denied having such plans demanding that the West keep Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations out of the alliance, halting weapon deployments near Russian borders and rolling back Eastern European forces.
The United States and its allies flatly rejected the demands, but offered Russia to engage in talks on ways to enhance security in Europe.
Speaking after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Putin says the West has agreed to discuss a ban on deployment of missiles in Europe, restrictions on military exercises and other confidences-building measures — questions that Moscow had asked on the table years ago.
He said Russia was ready to discuss “some of these elements”, but added that he would only do that”in complex with the main problems that are of Paramount importance for us.”
Asked if there could be a war in Europe, Putin said that Russia does not want but said that Ukraine’s candidacy join NATO was a menace important for the safety of son country.
While Scholz reiterated that NATO’s eastward expansion “is not on agenda – everyone knows that very well,” Putin retorted that Moscow will not be reassured by such assurances.
” They tell us this wonça will not happen tomorrow,” Putin said. “Well, when will that happen? Two days later? What does it change for us in the historical point of view? Nothing.”
It came on claim that NATO enlargement violates the principle of indivisibility of dedicated security in international documents.
“We want at solve this issue now in the frame of negotiation process through peaceful means,” Putin said. “We very much hope that our partners will hear our concerns and take them seriously.”
Scholz also says diplomatic options are “far from exhausted” and praised the announcement of a withdrawal of troops as “good signaladding: “We hope that more will be follow.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense released images of tanks and howitzers driving on the railway platforms and more tanks driving through snowy fields. He did not reveal where or when the images were taken, or where the vehicles were heading, other than “towards places of permanent deployment.
Russian forces continue to threaten Ukraine along the eastern border and from the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula that Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014, the year when that also supported a separatist insurgency in east of the country. More Russian troops loom over Ukraine in Belarus, where they were deployed for sweep joint drills.
A US defense official, who spoke on state of on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Pentagon analysts are reviewing Russian withdrawal requests.
Ukraine expressed son skepticism face to Russian statements on hindsight.
“We won’t believe when we hear, we’ll believe when we see. When on see troops shoot outon will believe in de-escalation,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “so far we have seen … no signs of reduced Russian military presence on borders of Ukraine,” adding that the alliance wants to see a “meaningful and lasting withdrawal of forces, troops, and not least the heavy equipment.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reiterated invasion danger still exist. Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt issued a similar warning, and Estonia’s foreign intelligence agency said the Russian armed forces could launch an operation “from the second half of February.”
Few Russians expect war after Kremlin sacked of Western warnings like “hysteria” and “absurdity”.
In a village in Belgorod in Russia region about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Ukrainian border, residents transported on with life as usual, even if more military personnel passed through the streets of the village.
“We are friends with Ukraine,” villager Lyudmila Nechvolod said. “We are really on the border, on really has family here and there, everyone has someone there (on Ukrainian side). No one wants war.
Western officials who informed The Associated Press said they saw no signs of de-escalates but rather the opposite, with Russia continues to build up combat forces and other capabilities, including field hospitals. They said there were “some signs of a diplomatic overture” and they think that Putin still hasn’t made a final decision invade but has all the abilities in place.
A US defense official noted small Numbers of Russian ground units were moving out of larger mounting areas for days, taking up positions closer to the Ukrainian border at what would be the start points if Putin launched a invasion. the official spoke on state of anonymity to discuss information not made public.
american secretary of State Antony Blinken held a call with Lavrov, according to a State Department official who spoke on state of anonymity because call had not been publicly announced.
President Joe Biden, who telephoned French President Emmanuel Macron on tuesday, should give brief remarks later in the day on efforts to defuse tensions between Ukraine and Russia, according to the White House.
United States “remains open to high-level diplomacy in close coordination with our allies,” according to an administration statement. “The United States continues to believe that diplomacy and de-escalation are the best path forwardbut is prepared for each scenario.
European leaders rushed to head off a new war on the continent after several tense weeks which left Europeans feel caught between Moscow and Washington, and further pushed up domestic energy prices because of an addiction on Russian gas.
Scholz’s meeting in the Kremlin took place a day after the session down with The leader of Ukraine in Kiev. In his introductory remarks in Moscow, Scholz addressed the Ukrainian tensions but also noted Germany’s economic ties with Russia, which complicates Western efforts on how punish russia over a invasion.
Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers have urged Putin to recognize rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine as independent states. The State Duma, Russia’s bottom housevoted to submit an appeal to Putin at this effect.
Putin said the motion reflected Russia’s public sympathy for suffering of people trap in the dispute in eastern Ukraine who killed over 14,000 since 2014. He noted, however, that Russia continues to believe in a 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany should serve as main vehicle for a colony of the separatist conflict.
Putin’s statement indicated that he was not inclined to back the parliament motion that would effectively invalidate the 2015 accord, which marked a major diplomatic coup for Moscow, asking Kiev to offer a large auto-rule to separatist territories. He was frowned upon by many in Ukraine and its implementation have stalled.