Washington welcomes diplomatic dialogue, and Kiev warns… Russia continues its military build-up near Ukraine, and Putin announces a “great event”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a successful test of a missile that exceeds the speed of sound 9 times, in conjunction with Moscow’s talk of a proposal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on a bilateral dialogue to reduce escalation, while Washington and Kiev welcomed the start of a diplomatic dialogue with Russia.

Putin described the launch of the “Zirkon” missile as a success and without any error, noting that the missile is the latest that Russia has now, as it is capable of hitting both sea and land targets.

Putin added that “the launch is a great event” for Russia, and an important step in strengthening the country’s security and increasing its defense capabilities, as he put it.

Meanwhile, Moscow talked about a proposal from NATO regarding a bilateral dialogue related to security guarantees, although it did not receive a response to its proposals in this regard.

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused the Ukrainian authorities of not adhering to the ceasefire agreement, and of resorting to force to resolve the conflict in the Donbass region.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kiev’s statements regarding its efforts to reduce the escalation are “false”, confirming the presence of 4,000 US military supervisors near the line of contact in the Donbass region.

Zakharova also confirmed that Moscow had received a proposal from NATO to hold a summit next month at the level of the Russia-NATO Council.

She stressed Moscow’s readiness for direct dialogue with NATO regarding its proposals for security guarantees.

Diplomatic dialogue

On the other hand, the United States said that it is ready to start a diplomatic dialogue with Russia, starting from the beginning of next month, through channels, according to what a senior official in the White House announced.

And White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced that there was no agreement with the Russians on the time or place of the new meeting, noting that her country was still discussing that.

Psaki also considered President Putin’s statements regarding the adoption of diplomatic means encouraging, but she said that the only aggression in the region is the Russian military presence near Ukraine, in contrast to the defensive nature of NATO.

On the ground, “Bloomberg” agency reported that Russia continues to mobilize its forces and military equipment near the borders of Ukraine, and the agency relied on satellite images published by Western companies concerned with this matter.

The Associated Press also published similar photos showing what it said were a crowd of tanks, artillery systems and short-range ballistic missile batteries, stationed near the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian position

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman described Putin’s statements – regarding Kiev’s readiness to launch a military operation in the east of the country – as “wrong”, and stressed that his country seeks peace only, and that Moscow did not provide any guarantees of non-invasion.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that Kiev is clearly committed to, and is committed to, political and diplomatic tools towards the settlement of the armed conflict, the latest of which is the proposals it presented within the tripartite contact group.

Kiev also renewed its denial of preparations for military action against the pro-Russians, pointing – in return – to the separatists’ repeated violations of the ceasefire.

In turn, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said that deterrence is the right way to make Russia de-escalate its escalation.

The Ukrainian minister added – in a tweet via Twitter – that peace, security and stability in Europe is not an ideal way of self-defense, but rather collective and proactive action, as he put it.

wide struggle

For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the pursuit of Ukraine’s annexation to NATO and the appearance of missiles near the Russian border raise significant military risks that could reach a large-scale conflict in Europe.

He added – in press statements – that Washington’s unfriendly approach towards his country creates a toxic atmosphere that prevents calm communication, describing the existing interaction between Russia and the United States as unhealthy, in terms of imposing sanctions and accusations, as he put it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that Kiev is preparing to resolve the Donbass crisis by force, and there is no peace without the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, stressing that the situation on the line of contact in the Donbass region is heading towards further deterioration.

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