It is during a news conference that Putin blames the Western world. Vladimir Putin met with the media in Moscow at the end of the year, and it was more closely watched than usual for signs of what he might be planning for Ukraine. He again said that he didn’t want a fight with the West and said that his country needed to protect itself from NATO’s moves on its doorstep.
Vladimir Putin has been putting troops on the border with Ukraine for a long time now. This has worried leaders in both Ukraine and the rest of the world, who thought he was going to repeat the military campaign he started in 2014 when he took the Crimean Peninsula.
In the US and Europe, the buildup has led them to think that Russia is planning to invade its smaller neighbour, which is trying to join the North American Treaty Organization. On Thursday, Vladimir Putin said that NATO has been expanding in waves since the end of the Cold War. Ukraine’s joining the alliance is a red line for Russia.
There should be no more NATO moves east, Putin told reporters during a nearly four-hour press conference.
There are missiles near the borders of the United States, aren’t there? Not at all. It was the United States, with its missiles, who came to our door. On the doorstep of our house, he said. Is it too much to ask for no more attack weapons systems to be near our home? “Does this look weird to you?”
It looked like Vladimir Putin’s words were made with the world watching, and he was trying to show that Russia wouldn’t be cowed by the West, while still leaving room for compromise.
Sergei Markov, the head of the Institute for Political Studies in Moscow, said that based on the tone of the speech, especially the very harsh words, this is an ultimatum.
Mr. Putin also left the door open for talks, said Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of R. Politik, an independent political consulting firm. This is important, she said. A woman told her that “he doesn’t want Russia to be seen as a monster.” It’s what he wants for Russia to be understood, and he wants this understanding, this empathy. It’s important for him to keep the image of Russia as a peaceful country that is willing to talk.
Last week, the Kremlin gave the US a list of security promises it wants from the West, including a promise that the organisation won’t move any further east to include Ukraine. Moscow also wants NATO to stop training and exercising in Ukraine, Georgia, and other places in the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia that were part of the Soviet Union.
Vladimir Putin said Thursday that not only will talks with NATO affect what happens next, but so will Russia’s “unconditional security, now and in the future,” which is what will decide what happens next.
In angry words, Mr. Putin said the West was encouraging anti-Russian feelings in Ukraine and brainwashing the people, while giving Ukraine advanced weapons that could hurt Russia. He said this could make Ukraine’s radicals more likely to try to take back parts of the country’s east, which are now under the control of pro-Kremlin separatists. Putin also said that they might be encouraged to try to take back the Crimean Peninsula, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
What happens to Donbas, the breakaway Russian-speaking region of Ukraine that includes the self-declared states of Donetsk and Luhansk and where more than a million people have Russian passports is at the heart of the worsening dispute now in its third week. Mr. Putin said that the people who live there should decide their own future. He said the Kremlin’s job was to be a mediator.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said in a statement that Ukraine was not planning to launch a military operation in the country’s east. Security experts say that could make Vladimir Putin angry, which could lead to a fight.
Mr. Nikolenko told the news agency that Ukraine only wants peace and wants to use politics and diplomacy to end the war. He asked Russia to focus on implementing the cease-fire agreements and stopping the fights, not on other things.
In the past, Russia and the United States have had a lot of problems with each other because of cybercrime, diplomats being kicked out of the country, and migrants moving to Belarus. Now, there is a military buildup on the Ukrainian border. The Wall Street Journal talks about what is making the divide between Washington and Moscow even bigger. An image or video of Michelle Inez Simon.
Donetsk and Luhansk residents “deserve peace and quiet, especially on the eve of the New Year holidays,” said Mr. Nikolenko, who was quoted in a report by the RIA Novosti newspaper.
Mr. Putin, on the other hand, urged the West to act quickly in response to Moscow’s proposals and said he hoped talks with the U.S. and NATO early next year would be productive.
Now, they have the ball. “They have to give us something back,” Mr. Putin said, adding that “on the whole, we see a positive response to proposals for talks on security.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, asked Russia to lower its military presence near Ukraine in order to set the stage for the planned talks in January. Washington wants to meet with Russia on its own, but also through talks with NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
U.S. allies and partners in Europe are talking with Russia about its proposals, but the U.S. won’t compromise “the key principles on which European security is built,” the White House said.
After the press conference Thursday, Putin answered questions about China, which he has said is “a model of interstate cooperation in the 21st century,” as well.