Saturday, January 29, 2022

Putin reiterates demands that the West provide security guarantees

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President Vladimir Putin has called for the West to “immediately” provide security guarantees to Russia amid rising tensions over a large-scale deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.

Speaking at his annual news conference on 23 December, Putin answered a reporter’s question about Russia’s intentions, listing a list of complaints about Ukraine and NATO.

He also referred to a list of demands publicly released by Russian officials earlier this month that amounted to a major restructuring of European security and NATO policies.

“You must guarantee us. You! And without further delay! Now!” He said while answering a question from a Sky News reporter.

Putin reiterated the Kremlin’s previous claims that the United States had installed missile systems on Russia’s border.

He appears to be referring to the anti-missile Aegis Ashore System that the United States has deployed in recent years to NATO allies Romania and Poland. Washington has insisted the systems are needed to defend Europe against threats from Iran’s missiles, and are ineffective against Russia’s arsenals.

“Is it us who placed missiles next to US borders?” Responding to another question, Putin said. “No. America came to our house with its missiles and is standing on the threshold of our house…. Is this an unusual demand? Don’t put any more attack systems next to our house? What’s unusual about that?”

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow on December 23, 2021.

In response to an earlier question, Putin appeared to be giving a positive sign regarding proposed upcoming talks between Russia, the United States and possibly other Western allies.

Sometime after the new year, US and Russian diplomats are reportedly scheduled to meet in Geneva for new talks.

“We’ve seen a positive response so far. Our American partners have told us that they are ready to start this discussion, these talks early next year,” he said.

“I hope that’s how it all goes,” he said.

Russian demands, issued publicly on 17 December, called for preventing NATO from expanding further east and leaving Ukraine and several other countries as buffer states with limited sovereignty when it comes to military matters. .

FILE - This handout satellite image taken on November 1, 2021 and released by Maxar Technologies shows a large ground force deployment near Yelnya, Smolensk region, Russia, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the Ukraine border reflects.

FILE – This handout satellite image taken on November 1, 2021 and released by Maxar Technologies shows a large ground force deployment near Yelnya, Smolensk region, Russia, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the Ukraine border reflects.

In recent weeks, the United States, NATO and Kiev have raised the alarm over the nearly 100,000 Russian troops stationed near the border with Ukraine and in the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.

US officials have said Moscow is planning a possible military strike that, if it happens, could come within weeks.

The new military build-up comes as the backdrop of Putin’s push for the United States and NATO to give Russia comprehensive “security guarantees” that would drastically change the post-Cold War order in Europe.

Putin has said he does not want war, but is adamant that if a new war breaks out, it will be the fault of Kiev and the West.

During the news conference, he also reiterated previous allegations against Ukraine, saying that Kiev is preparing a new military offensive in the eastern regions where the war has been going on for more than 7 years now.

“Now they tell us, war, war, war. It seems they are preparing for another operation [in Donbas] And warning us not to get in the way, or there will be sanctions,” Putin said. He accused the West of creating “anti-Russian” sentiment in Ukraine and “brainwashing the population.”

FILE - A reservist from the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces throws a dummy grenade at an armored vehicle during a military exercise at a training ground outside Kharkiv, Ukraine.  December 11, 2021.

FILE – A reservist from the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces throws a dummy grenade at an armored vehicle during a military exercise at a training ground outside Kharkiv, Ukraine. December 11, 2021.

He said, “We are trying our best to establish good-neighbor relations with Ukraine. But it is impossible to do with the current leadership. People in Ukraine who want to work with us are facing pressure or Even getting killed.”

As part of an effort to demonstrate his dominance over Russia’s political life, Putin is one of three nationally televised public events held almost every year.

In previous years, press conferences have lasted over three hours; Last year was the longest, at 4 1/2 hours.

Due to pandemic restrictions, journalists had to submit three negative PCR tests to enter the hall. Organizers also set up “disinfection tunnels” — an unproven technology that sprays individuals with a disinfectant as they walk.

Earlier in the press conference, Putin praised his government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and spur the country’s economic growth.

FILE - In this July 12, 2021, photo, a medical worker administers a shot of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Gostiny Dvor, a sprawling exhibition space in Moscow.

FILE – In this July 12, 2021, photo, a medical worker administers a shot of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination center in Gostiny Dvor, a sprawling exhibition space in Moscow.

Like many countries, Russia has struggled to get its COVID-19 infections under control – an effort that has been hampered by widespread vaccine hesitation.

Less than 50% of the country’s 146 million people have so far been fully vaccinated, even though Russia was the first in the world to approve and release a coronavirus vaccine a year ago. As of December 23, Russia has 10.2 million cases and 300,000 deaths, according to the National Coronavirus Information Center.

“Facing with the challenges of the coronavirus infection and the necessary restrictions it has caused in the economy as well as the social sector, our economy became more organized and better prepared for such shocks than other developed economies of the world,” he said. . said.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.]

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