This was stated by President Vladimir Putin at a press conference in the Kremlin after a five-hour meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
This is the first time Putin has commented in detail on the conflict over Ukraine after Russia recently received a written response from the United States and NATO to its security demands.
– The Russian President stressed that Western countries are ignoring our three most important demands.
He referred to the Russians’ demands that Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe could not join NATO.
Nor does Russia want NATO to be able to build military bases in countries close to Russia’s borders.
The Russian authorities also demand that NATO not have offensive weapons systems in Eastern Europe. Putin specifically mentioned US missiles.
NATO thinks threatening Russia
The Russian president has repeatedly stated that Western leaders in the 1990s gave the Russians verbal promises that NATO would not expand eastward.
“They said one thing and did a completely different thing, in short, they deceived us,” Putin claimed.
He stressed that NATO has American missile systems like Poland and Romania, and that Ukraine could become the next member of the defense alliance.
Putin also claimed that the Ukrainian authorities want to restore Crimea by military force. Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
The Russian president asked, if Ukraine becomes a member of NATO and launches an attack on Crimea, then Russia will go to war against NATO.
Putin hopes to find a solution
According to the president, the Russian authorities are now reviewing the written response from the United States and NATO to Russia’s demands for security guarantees.
Despite saying that Western countries reject the most important demands of the Russians, Putin seems to want to continue negotiations.
– I hope the dialogue will continue and I want to find a solution that works for everyone, said the president.
But he added that it would not be easy to find such a solution.
According to the president, it is likely that French President Emmanuel Macron will come to Moscow soon to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Foreign ministers are also speaking
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today about the tense situation.
This conversation only lasted 30 minutes.
After that, Lavrov said, according to Agence France-Presse, that the United States was ready to discuss Russia’s security demands.
US authorities say that no date has been set for a new meeting between the two foreign ministers.
Reuters reported that the Russian authorities are still working on an official response after the United States and NATO last week responded in writing to the Russians’ demands for security guarantees.
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