According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his French colleague Emmanuel Macron on Friday that the West has neglected Moscow’s security concerns over NATO expansion and Ukraine.
The US and NATO responded earlier this week to Russia’s broad security demands, which demanded that the West agree never to admit Ukraine to the US-led security alliance.
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“The US and NATO answers did not take into consideration Russia’s core concerns, such as blocking NATO expansion and refusing to install attack weapons systems near Russia’s borders,” Putin said Macron, according to the Kremlin.
Putin claimed that the US had “ignored” other significant issues raised by Russia and had failed to explain how security in Europe could be ensured without jeopardizing other nations’ military interests.
According to the Kremlin, the two leaders spoke at long, with Putin informing Macron that he will “seriously” assess the US and NATO answers “before deciding on his next steps.”
A Russian army buildup along the border with eastern Ukraine has fueled Western suspicions that the Kremlin is contemplating an invasion of its pro-EU neighbor.
Russia rejects any intentions for an invasion, but has requested broad security assurances from the West, which continues to try to engage Moscow diplomatically.
On Wednesday, the Elysee Palace welcomed as a “good signal” negotiations in Paris between Russia and Ukraine – as well as France and Germany – that resulted in the first joint written declaration on the situation in eastern Ukraine agreed by Moscow and Kyiv since 2019.
Putin told Macron on Friday that it was critical for Ukrainian authorities to have “direct conversation” with rebel leaders in the war-torn east of the ex-Soviet republic.
The Kremlin stated that “taking into consideration the results of the conference” in Paris, “the atmosphere for continuing collaboration of Russia and France in this format was reinforced.”