Photo: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Sputni/AFP/Getty Images
Russia does not want a war in Europe, said the head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow.
“If we want a war (in Europe)? Of course not”, Putin said while commenting on the current tension on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
He added that precisely for this reason Russia presented proposals for negotiations on European security, the result of which should be an agreement that meets the interests of all parties.
The Russian president stated that his generation has witnessed an armed conflict in Europe, alluding to the war in Yugoslavia.
“We have witnessed the war in Europe unleashed by the NATO bloc against Yugoslavia. A large military operation with bombing of one of the European capitals, Belgrade”, he stated.
He stressed that the military actions were carried out without the authorization of the UN Security Council and that “was a very bad example.”
Scholz disagreed with the Russian leader by pointing out that in Yugoslavia there was a threat of genocideto which Putin replied that what is happening now in eastern Ukraine is also genocide.
As for the Russian security demands made on the US and NATO, Putin said that Russia did not receive a constructive response, but hopes to continue the dialogue.
He stressed that future negotiations must take into account Russia’s main security concerns, which include NATO’s non-expansion to the east and the rejection of the deployment of attack systems near Russian borders.
Asked whether Russia will continue to withdraw troops from the vicinity of Ukraine’s borders, the Kremlin chief said it would depend on the situation.
“How is Russia going to act? According to the plan. And what is this made of? From the actual situation on the ground”, she said, adding: “Who can say how the situation will develop? Nobody, for now. It depends not only on us”.
Putin also commented on the request of the Russian deputies for the recognition of the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine and stated that Moscow will start from the potential of the Minsk agreements for settlement in Donbas.
Kiev warned on Tuesday that the possible recognition by Russia of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk they would mean Russia’s exit from the Minsk process.
The German chancellor, in turn, said during the press conference with Putin that this measure would be a “political catastrophe”.
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