West has not addressed key concerns on Ukraine: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the United States and NATO had failed to fulfil Russia’s fundamental security needs in their stalemate over Ukraine, but that Moscow was prepared to continue discussions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first public response to the United States and the NATO response to Russia’s demands during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, following weeks of personal public silence on the crisis in which Russia has massed troops near Ukraine’s border with Ukraine.

Russian state media reported Putin as saying to Macron that he would read the formal reply offered by the United States and NATO this week before making a decision on additional measures.

“It was brought to our attention that the responses from the United States and NATO did not take into consideration Russia’s primary concerns,” the Kremlin said.

They included avoiding Nato expansion, not putting offensive weapons near Russia’s borders, and returning Nato’s “military capabilities and infrastructure” to the state they were in when former Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe became members.

The most important point was ignored: how the United States and its allies intend to adhere to the principle of security integrity, which states that no one should increase their own security at the expense of another country’s security, the report stated.

The United States and its allies have warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if he attacks Ukraine, Russia will face severe economic consequences.

The measures would build on the restrictions that have been in place since Russia took Crimea and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. However, there are differences of opinion among Western countries over how to respond, given that Europe is reliant on Russian energy supply.

Negotiated resolution

But Jens Stoltenberg, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said on Friday in Brussels that Russia might carry out a “broad spectrum” of aggressive activities against Ukraine, but he stressed that the window for a peaceful and diplomatic conclusion was still open.

Despite the fact that the military alliance is still unsure of what the Kremlin may do, Stoltenberg said at an event hosted by the US think-tank Atlantic Council that Russia had a number of options.

“There is cyber (warfare), coup attempts to overthrow the government in Kiev, sabotage-they have intelligence personnel working inside Ukraine right now,” said the official.

According to Stoltenberg, we must be prepared for a wide range of different sorts of aggressive activities by Russia against Ukraine.

However, he went on to say that he was “reluctant to go too far into speculation because the goal at this point is to try to lower tensions… We call on Russia to sit down and engage in dialogue in order to prevent these kinds of situations from occurring and to find a political solution.”

In response to a massive Russian force deployment on Ukraine’s borders, which has sparked fears that Moscow is contemplating a new invasion of its neighbor, the West is on pins and needles.

NATO has held a number of discussions on the alleged danger, with another gathering of partner defiance ministers scheduled for February 16-17 in Brussels.