Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, Dec. 1, at a Kremlin ceremony with foreign ambassadors, that in order to provide a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Ukraine, his government will seek a written guarantee that NATO military forces will stop advancing over Russia’s eastern border.
“In a dialogue with the United States and its allies, we will insist on working out specific agreements that would exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close vicinity to Russian territory,” Putin said.
The Russian president asserted that “the threats are mounting on our western border,” with NATO bringing its military infrastructure into Russia, and offered the West to engage in substantive talks on the issue, adding that Moscow would need not only verbal guarantees but “legal guarantees” or in writing.
“We aren’t demanding any special conditions for ourselves and realize that any agreements must take interests of Russia and all Euro-Atlantic countries into account,” Putin said. “A calm and stable situation must be ensured for all and is needed for all without exclusion.”
On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking in his country’s parliament, also favored using diplomatic means to end the conflict with Russia.
“We must tell the truth—we wouldn’t be able to stop the war without direct talks with Russia,” Zelenskyy said according to Fox News. “We aren’t afraid of a direct dialogue.”
However, this Wednesday also Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba called on NATO to prepare economic sanctions to deter a Russian invasion.
Russia claims that Ukraine with NATO’s assistance are the ones violating the Minsk agreement
While NATO, the United States, and Ukraine claim that it is Russia that is provoking the conflict by sending its troops to the Ukrainian border, the Russian government refutes the accusations saying that it is Ukraine that is violating the Minsk agreement which was signed for the ceasefire in the Donbas region in 2015.
In other words, what the Russians say is that troops were sent because of Ukraine’s provocations, which perhaps seek to reclaim Crimea with the help of NATO and U.S.’ armies.
According to an RT report, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced that Ukraine violated the ceasefire agreement and gathered half of its entire army in the region, some 125,000 troops and heavy weaponry in a clear provocative move.
“Kyiv is becoming increasingly insolent in its aggressiveness towards the Minsk agreements, the Russian Federation, and in its attempts to provoke the West to support its military ambitions,” Lavrov said in remarks in the upper house of Russia’s parliament.
Beyond that, Russia has insisted that the conflict in Donbas, where pro-Russia groups have clashed with locals since Russia annexed Crimea, is an internal Ukrainian issue.
“The war in Donbas is Ukraine’s internal business,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “We know about the attempts to cast Russia as a party to the conflict, but it’s not so. It’s only possible to end the war in Donbas through talks between Ukrainians.”
Important diplomatic meeting
This Thursday, December 2, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with both Sergey Lavrov the Russian foreign minister and Dmytro Kuleba, his Ukrainian counterpart with the aim of putting an end to the conflict. Although based on Blinken’s most recent statements and the whole anti-Russia approach of the Biden administration he is likely to side with Ukraine and to try to punish Putin’s government.