February 1, 2023

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Tensions in the Ukraine conflict: Putin blames the West

Status: December 21, 2021 8:20 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking full responsibility for the tensions in the conflict over Ukraine in the West. He reiterated his call for NATO to refuse to expand east.

In a speech to a meeting with senior military officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the United States and NATO for “tensions in Europe.”

He said the United States saw itself as the winner of the Cold War and, to its delight, had made the wrong political decisions. He noted that NATO’s expansion and arms control agreements toward the east were coming to an end.

Russia was forced to respond gradually. The situation worsened. “Today we are forced to solve it somehow.”

Putin accused the United States of “aggressive” action and threatened consequences. “If the aggressive lineup of our Western colleagues continues, we will respond with adequate military-technical measures and take tough action against non-aligned actions,” Putin said.

Rising tension at the border

Russia has previously demanded in draft security agreements with the United States and NATO that the Western military alliance not accept Ukraine and other former Soviet republics and withdraw arms from the region and end maneuvers there. The demands come amid mounting tensions over fears of a possible Russian invasion of the neighboring country as Russian troops are deployed near the border with Ukraine.

Putin said today that if the missile systems of the United States and NATO were installed in Ukraine, it would take only a few minutes for the missiles to reach Moscow.

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Putin said that “this is a very serious challenge for us – a challenge to our security”, which is why he said that the Kremlin needed “long-term, legally binding” guarantees of “oral guarantees, words and the West.” Moscow could not be trusted. At the same time, Putin stressed that he hoped that constructive talks would take place with the representatives of Washington and Brussels.

Phone call with Scholz

The Ukraine conflict was also the subject of a telephone conversation between President Olaf Scholes and Putin. According to the German government, Scholes and Putin talked about the growing Russian military presence in Ukraine.

The chancellor expressed his concern about the situation and spoke of the urgent need to reduce the severity, government spokesman Stephen Hebstreet said. In addition, it is about the status of the implementation of the Minsk agreements for a peaceful solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Scholes stressed the need to negotiate in the form of Normandy.

Putin, in turn, at Sholes’ request, elaborated on Russia’s view of the Ukraine conflict.

Stoltenberg sees an unsupported military structure

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the federation wanted to express its concern over Russia’s behavior in the initial talks. Russia continues to pull troops along the border with Ukraine: “We see them gradually bringing more and more armed forces – artillery, troops, tanks – closer to the Ukrainian border.”

Despite international demands for transparency and expansion, the “unfounded and unexplained” military structure continues. Stoltenberg announced that he would like to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council early next year to discuss the tense situation.

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Is Russia ready for new proposals?

However, at first it was not clear whether Moscow was ready for new suggestions in the form of dialogue. The last talks on the NATO-Russia Council so far took place in July 2019. After that, all attempts to set a date for the meeting failed. One reason is that Russia does not really want to talk about the Ukraine conflict in this form, and in turn does not want to accept NATO countries in particular as a condition for new negotiations.

Russia’s relations with the United States plunged into Cold War in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and supported a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine. Tensions have risen again in recent weeks as Russian troops have been stationed near the Ukrainian border.