Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that if the West does not satisfy his demand for security assurances precluding NATO expansion into Ukraine, he would consider a variety of measures.
Earlier this month, Moscow submitted draft security documents proposing that NATO refuse Ukraine and other former Soviet republics membership and reduce its military presence in Central and Eastern Europe.
Putin has encouraged the West to respond fast, warning that if the West maintains its “aggressive” approach “on the threshold of our land,” Moscow would have to take “appropriate military-technical measures.”
When asked to elaborate on Moscow’s reaction, he said on Russian state TV Sunday that “it might be various,” adding without elaborating that “it would depend on what ideas our military specialists present to me.”
The United States and its allies have refused to provide Russia with the type of assurance on Ukraine that Putin desires, citing NATO’s premise that membership is accessible to any eligible country.
They did, however, agree to have security discussions with Russia next month to address its concerns.
Putin stated that the discussions with the US will take place in Geneva. Concurrently, talks between Russia and NATO are planned, as are larger consultations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Putin stated in remarks televised on Sunday that Russia issued the demands in the hope of receiving a positive response from the West.
“We didn’t do it only to see it stopped… but to secure a negotiated diplomatic conclusion that would be set in legally binding papers,” Putin explained.
The Kremlin made its security demand amid rising tensions over a recent Russian army buildup in Ukraine, which has fanned Western concerns of an invasion.
In a video conference earlier this month, US President Joe Biden warned Putin that if Russia attacked Ukraine, it will suffer “serious repercussions.”
Russia has denied any intention of launching an invasion and, in turn, has accused Ukraine of planning plans to use force to retake territory controlled by Moscow-backed rebels. The allegation has been denied by Ukraine.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and quickly backed a separatist revolt in the country’s east. Over the course of more than seven years, the violence has killed over 14,000 people and ravaged Ukraine’s industrial heartland, known as the Donbas.