Putin gripes about NATO as US deploys more troops to Europe…..

Russian president says NATO and the US did not address Moscow’s main security demands, as Ukraine tensions simmer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the United States and NATO had not addressed Moscow’s main security demands in their standoff over Ukraine, as US President Joe Biden announced an additional troop deployment in Eastern Europe.

Putin offered his first reaction to the US and NATO responses to Russia’s demands in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron after weeks of personal public silence on the simmering crisis.

The Kremlin quoted Putin as telling Macron he would study the responses provided by Washington and NATO this week before deciding on further action.

“Attention was drawn to the fact that the US and NATO replies did not take into account Russia’s principal concerns,” the Kremlin said of Putin’s conversation with Macron.

It listed those concerns as avoiding NATO expansion, not deploying offensive weapons near Russia’s borders and returning NATO “military capabilities and infrastructure” to how they were before former Warsaw Pact states in Eastern Europe joined the alliance. It is also seeking guarantees that Ukraine will be permanently barred from joining NATO.

“The key question was ignored – how the United States and its allies intend to follow the principle of security integrity … that no one should strengthen their security at the expense of another country’s security,” the Kremlin said.

A French presidency official said Putin had underlined that he did not want the situation to intensify, echoing conciliatory comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who said Moscow did not want war.

The comments come after US President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent.

On Friday, Biden announced that he would soon send a small number of US troops – “not too many” – to bolster the NATO presence in Eastern Europe as tensions remain heightened.

The US already has tens of thousands of troops stationed across mostly Western Europe.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticised a “feeling abroad” that war had already started, suggesting a Russian attack is not imminent though an economically damaging war is possible.

In a telephone call a day earlier, Biden warned Zelenskyy of a “distinct possibility” that Russia could take military action against Ukraine. Read More

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