Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Feb. 1, accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s main security demands and fomenting the crisis with neighboring Ukraine.
During a press conference in Moscow after receiving Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Putin lashed out at the U.S. and NATO, considering it clear that they decided to ignore Russia’s security concerns by rejecting Russian demands, but did not mention the deployment of Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border.
“It was the United States that came with its missiles to our home, to the doorstep of our home,” Putin said. “And you demand from me some guarantees. You should give us guarantees. You! And right away, right now,” The Hill reported.
Tensions have been running high in recent weeks over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, where Russia has deployed approximately 100,000 troops near the border for weeks.
Russia has repeatedly denied that it poses a threat to its neighboring country, while demanding assurances that Kiev will not join the NATO alliance and that the U.S. and allies will not establish new military bases in former Soviet countries.
The Russian leader stated during the conference that the U.S. is deliberately stoking tensions to justify imposing tougher sanctions on Russia.
“Ukraine is just an instrument of achieving this goal. It can be done in different ways, such as pulling us into some armed conflict and then forcing their allies in Europe to enact those harsh sanctions against us that are being discussed today in the United States,” Putin said.
According to The Hill, Russia delivered a response to the Western proposal, but without disclosing the contents, just as the document Russia received from NATO and the U.S. was not disclosed last week, because, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken felt, “we believe that diplomacy has the best chance of succeeding if we provide space for confidential talks.”
After receiving the U.S. response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the rejection of Russia’s demands left “little room for optimism”, although he added that dialogue was still possible.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, warned again in a statement at the UN Security Council meeting on Monday that Russia would face harsh retaliation unless Moscow demonstrated openness to a diplomatic solution.
“If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith,” Biden said. “If instead Russia chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences.”
Lavrov and Blinken spoke Tuesday and reiterated the positions presented by Putin and President Joe Biden. The White House said Biden and Putin may also talk once the U.S. analyzes the Russian response, according to the Associated Press.