Ukraine Has Become the Main Topic of Putin’s Big Press Conference

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The President of the Russian Federation said at a large press conference that the West should provide Moscow with security guarantees, instead of demanding them. The situation in Ukraine and disagreements between Moscow and Western countries in connection with the concentration of Russian troops on the border with this state have become one of the main topics of the annual press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Answering journalists’ questions in Moscow on Thursday, December 23, Putin again accused the North Atlantic Alliance and the Ukrainian authorities of creating tension. Putin again demands security guarantees from the West According to the Russian president, the West should provide Moscow with security guarantees, and not demand them from it. According to Putin, the further advance of NATO to the east is unacceptable for Russia, as this entails the deployment of alliance weapons at the borders of the country. He accused the United States of standing “on Russia’s doorstep”. Commenting on the reaction of the West to Russia’s demands, he pointed out: “In general, so far we see a positive reaction. The American side is ready for negotiations in Geneva, representatives have been appointed. We hope that the process will follow this path,” the Russian President stressed. Earlier, the United States and European politicians indicated that one of the prerequisites for security negotiations should be the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine. According to Western sources, up to 100 thousand Russian troops are stationed near the border of Ukraine. US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has suggested that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022. The United States and other Western countries have threatened the Russian Federation with the toughest sanctions in case of such a scenario. Putin on relations between Russia and Ukraine In response to a question about whether the Kremlin allows a war with Ukraine, Putin said that Russia does not threaten anyone. In his opinion, it seems that the “Kiev authorities” are preparing a third military operation in the Donbass. He accused current Ukrainian leadership of being “almost impossible” to build relations with, as well as of refusing to implement the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the conflict in Donbass. According to him, Russia sees its role as a mediator, not as a party to the conflict. He blamed Kiev for the shelling in the region, without saying a word about the actions of pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass. DW