Putin demands immediate resolution of issue on Kyiv’s relationship with NATO

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Putin says sanctions against Russia would rebound against the West

Feb 15, 2022: Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow does not want a war in Europe amid rising tensions over Ukraine, but has demanded that the issue of Kyiv’s relations with NATO be resolved immediately.

Addressing a joint news conference on Tuesday after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said Russia had been informed by Western powers that its neighbor would not join the Transatlantic military alliance in the near future. But he warned that this was not a satisfactory assurance.

“We need to resolve this question now … [and] we hope very much our concern will be heard by our partners and taken seriously,” Putin told reporters in Moscow.

“[And] As for war in Europe … about whether we want it or not? Of course not. That is why we put forward proposals for a negotiation process, the result of which should be an agreement on ensuring equal security for everyone, including our country,” he said.

The United States and NATO have explicitly rejected Russia’s key security demands – Putin said Russia was ready to engage in talks on limiting the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe, increasing the transparency of military drills and other confidence-building measures.

His comments came as Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was planning a partial withdrawal of troops from Ukraine after the end of military exercises.

His comments came as Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was planning a partial withdrawal of its forces from Ukraine after the end of military exercises. Moscow did not provide details on where troops were being withdrawn, or how many were being moved, but the Defense Ministry released footage showing tanks and other armored vehicles on railway flat cars. 

Scholz hailed the return announcement as a “good signal” and said diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis were not over.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the other hand said “the intelligence that we’re seeing today is still not encouraging”, and Ukraine said the reported pullback needed to be seen to be believed.

NATO’s chief meanwhile welcomed signals from Russia in the past two days that it may be looking for a diplomatic resolution, but he urged Moscow to demonstrate its will to act with a “significant and enduring withdrawal of forces … and not least the heavy equipment”.

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