Putin calls for “immediate” security guarantees

by Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia wants to avoid conflict with Ukraine and the West, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, while calling for a response ” immediate “from Washington and NATO to its demands for” security guarantees “.

” It is not our choice, we do not want that “, assured Vladimir Poutine during his annual press conference on the possibility of a conflict with Ukraine.

Russia, he added, received a generally positive initial response to the pledge of security which it demands and which it presented in detail last week.

Negotiations will begin early 2022 in Geneva.

The Russian president was however more annoyed by evoking how NATO according to him “deceived” Russia with several waves of expansion since the Second World War, and added that Moscow had need quick answers.

“You must give us guarantees, and immediately, now”, he insisted.

Moscow rejects accusations by Kiev and the West that it is preparing an invasion of Ukraine, after having massed tens of thousands of soldiers near the Ukrainian border.

Russia is demanding, among other security pledges, that Westerners promise to renounce all military activity in Eastern Europe.

“There must be no more NATO’s new movement towards the East. The ball is in their court, “said Vladimir Poutine.

(Report Vladimir Soldatkin; French version Jean-Stéphane Brosse, edited by Blandine Hénault)