Putin demands the West for “immediate” guarantees and excludes the conflict, and the two parties to the Ukrainian conflict want to revive the truce
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reiterated his desire to avoid conflict in Ukraine, calling on the West to immediately respond to his demands for security guarantees, amid efforts to revive the truce between the two sides of the Ukrainian conflict, coinciding with maneuvers on both sides of the border.
“This is not our preferred option. We do not want that to happen,” Putin said – at his annual press conference – referring to the possibility of a war in Ukraine.
Putin added that Russia had received a generally positive response to the security proposals it submitted to the United States this month, and that negotiations would begin at the beginning of next year in Geneva.
“I hope the situation will move forward in this way,” the Russian president added.
Putin’s voice rose when he referred to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – what he described – deceiving Russia with successive waves of expansion since the Cold War, and said that Moscow needs an immediate response in this regard.
“You have to give us guarantees right away… now,” Putin added.
He has already said Sergey Ryabkov The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said that his country submitted to the United States its proposals regarding the timing of the start of negotiations on security guarantees, and is awaiting Washington’s response.
Return to armistice
On the other hand, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said – in a statement yesterday evening, Wednesday – that the Ukrainian authorities and the pro-Russian separatists want to restore the ceasefire agreement, which was reached in July 2020 in eastern Ukraine.
The organization’s representative and mediator in resolving the conflict, Mikko Kinunin, considered it “crucial for the people who live on both sides of the front.”
The diplomat was speaking after a video conference held by the tripartite contact group that brings together the two sides of the conflict.
After this meeting, the Ukrainian presidency expressed “cautious optimism about the possibility of de-escalation” on the front line, and said – in a statement – “for the first time in a long time, we feel a real possibility to guarantee the armistice.”
“We saw that the other side is also ready for this step,” the presidency added.
On the other hand, the separatists appeared more skeptical. “No agreement has been reached,” Rodion Miroshnik, representative of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk Republic”, wrote on Telegram Thursday.
In July 2020, the two warring camps since 2014 agreed to a ceasefire on the front line, and the truce lasted for several months before it was breached last February.
According to Mikko Kinunin, the daily violations of the ceasefire were, on average, 5 times higher in December, compared to the same month in 2020.
exercises and caution
وبر one The atmosphere of optimism that followed Moscow’s assertion that negotiations on security guarantees are imminent, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s willingness to meet Putin, both of Russia and Ukraine launched separate exercises and maneuvers.
In Ukraine, exercises with US-made munitions were launched in the separatist region in the east of the country, during which the US Javelin anti-tank missile was used for the first time.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that there are more than 200,000 Russian soldiers near his country’s borders.
On the other hand, the Russian paratroopers are carrying out today, Thursday, extensive exercises in the Obock military field in the Crimea. The Ministry of Defense explained that units of biological and chemical defense are participating in the exercises that simulate the scenario of protecting the armed forces from drone attacks, as well as countering the enemy’s attack.
In a related context, the authorities of the “Donetsk Republic”, a self-declared republic, announced that a civilian was wounded this morning, Thursday, in a Ukrainian bombing.