Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the US for tensions in Ukraine during a press conference on Friday. Putin said that Western sanctions have created “psychological pressure” and led to protests, which Russia claims are being provoked by the West.
Putin blamed the West for Ukraine tensions during a press conference today. He said that there is no reason to believe that Russia would not be able to resolve the conflict with their neighbors peacefully and without outside interference.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual meeting with the Moscow media was more keenly watched than normal for clues about his intentions for Ukraine, as he denied desiring a confrontation with the West and defended his country’s need to defend itself against NATO’s efforts to expand on its borders.
Russia has been massing tens of thousands of soldiers on its border with Ukraine for months, raising concerns among officials in Kyiv and Western capitals that Mr. Putin is planning a military campaign similar to that which occurred in 2014 when Moscow seized the Crimean Peninsula.
As a result of the buildup, the US and Europe have speculated that Moscow is contemplating another invasion of its smaller neighbor, which is striving to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Mr. Putin has made Ukraine’s membership in NATO a red line for Russia, accusing NATO of pursuing consecutive waves of expansion since the end of the Cold War on Thursday.
“Any further eastward march of NATO is unacceptable,” Mr. Putin said at a nearly four-hour news conference.
“Are we deploying missiles near the United States’ borders?” No, it was the United States that arrived on our doorstep with its weapons. “They’ve arrived at our front door,” he said. “Is it an unreasonable demand—no more offensive weapons systems in close proximity to our home?” Is there anything out of the ordinary about this?”
With the entire world watching, Mr. Putin’s remarks appeared to be carefully calibrated to send a strong message to his domestic audience that Russia would not be cowed by the West, as well as to signal to NATO that Russia has no intention of retreating from its border with Ukraine, according to some political analysts.
“Judging by the tone, particularly his extremely strong comments, this is really an ultimatum,” said Sergei Markov, head of Moscow’s Institute for Political Studies.
Mr. Putin’s willingness to negotiate was also essential, according to Tatiana Stanovaya, head of R. Politik, an independent political consulting firm. She said, “He doesn’t want Russia to seem to be a monster.” “He wants Russia to be understood, and he’s looking for empathy in return.” It is critical for him to maintain Russia’s image as a peaceful nation open to talks.”
Last week, the Kremlin supplied the US with a list of security assurances, including a promise that the group would not grow farther east to encompass Ukraine. Moscow also wants NATO to stop conducting military drills and training in Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet Union territories in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.
Mr. Putin said on Thursday that what happens next would be determined by “the absolute supply of Russia’s security, now and in the future,” in addition to the upcoming discussions with NATO.
On Thursday, journalists attempted to question Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Alexei Nikolsky/Zuma Press/Alexei Nikolsky/Zuma Press/Alexei Nikolsky/Zum
Mr. Putin charged the West of inflaming anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine and brainwashing the populace while providing Kyiv with advanced weapons that may put Russia in risk. He believes this will inspire extreme elements in Ukraine to attempt to reclaim portions of the country’s east that are now under the hands of pro-Kremlin rebels. They might even be enticed to attempt to recover the Crimean Peninsula, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea navy, according to Mr. Putin.
The future of Donbas, the separatist Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine that contains the self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and where more than a million people possess Russian passports, is at the heart of the escalating conflict. Mr. Putin said that the people of the region should be in charge of their own destiny, and that the Kremlin’s role is that of a mediator.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, denied planning a military operation in the country’s east in a statement carried by Ukraine’s national news outlet Ukrinform. Security experts believe this might drive Mr. Putin into action.
According to the news agency, Mr. Nikolenko said that Ukraine wishes only peace and is dedicated to political and diplomatic measures to end the military conflict. He urged Russia to concentrate on executing the cease-fire accords and putting a stop to the fighting.
After confrontations over cybercrime, ambassador expulsions, and a migration crisis in Belarus, a military buildup near the Ukrainian border is straining relations between Russia and the United States. The Wall Street Journal examines why the rift between Washington and Moscow is widening. Michelle Inez Simon (photo composite/video)
Mr. Nikolenko was quoted as stating, “People on both sides of the line of demarcation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions deserve peace and serenity, particularly on the eve of the New Year holidays.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Putin encouraged the West to react quickly to Moscow’s ideas and voiced optimism that discussions with the US and NATO set for early next year would produce positive outcomes.
“They now have the ball in their hands. “They have to respond,” Mr. Putin said, adding that “on the general, we are seeing good reactions to suggestions for negotiations on security assurances at the moment.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the United States called to Moscow on Tuesday to de-escalate its military position near Ukraine in order to create a fruitful environment for the anticipated January talks. Washington proposes holding direct negotiations with Russia as well as parallel talks with NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The White House previously stated that Russia’s proposals were being discussed with the United States’ European allies and partners, but that the US would not compromise “the key principles on which European security is built, including that all countries have the right to decide their own future and foreign policy free of outside interference.”
During Thursday’s news conference, Mr. Putin also took questions on China, which he has praised as “a model of interstate cooperation in the twenty-first century.”
Last week, the Kremlin leader and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, agreed during a videoconference to reject Western intrusion into their countries’ internal affairs and to step up efforts to defend their countries’ security interests, bolstering cooperation as both countries face pressure from the US and Europe.
Since the conclusion of the Cold War, President Putin has accused NATO of aggressively moving eastward.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/natalia Kolesnikova
China has been chastised by the West for its oppression of a mostly Muslim minority population and other human-rights violations, which Beijing denies.
The Biden administration said earlier this month that it will not send any US officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which will take place in February. Other nations, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, have followed suit.
Mr. Putin described the diplomatic embargo as a “wrong and terrible choice” prompted by a desire to limit China’s economic expansion on Thursday. He encouraged the United States to accept that it is impossible to stifle the Asian giant’s growth, which he said was on course to become the world’s largest economy.
In addition to collaborating in the domains of security, space, and aviation, the Russian leader said that Moscow and Beijing had established cooperative weapons-development projects and were working on specific kinds of high-tech weaponry together.
—This article was co-written by Valentina Ochirova.
Ann M. Simmons can be reached at [email protected]
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Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for tensions in Ukraine during a news conference on Friday. Reference: white house press conference today.
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